Apprentices encouraged to “reach for the stars” by award winning health board

Posted on by karen.smith

English | Cymraeg

A Welsh health board, which encourages staff to “reach for the stars” by investing in their recruitment and career development, has won a coveted national apprenticeship award.

Emma Bendle, Cardiff and Vale UHB receiving the award.

Emma Bendle, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s apprenticeship and widening access co¬-ordinator, receives the Macro Employer of the Year award from Kelly Reynolds, Wales director of sponsor PeoplePlus.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board was named Macro Employer of the Year at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024 awards ceremony held at ICC Wales, Newport.

The health board has been upskilling its workforce through a range of apprenticeships since 2006 but accelerated its programme by establishing an Apprenticeship Academy in 2018. Nearly 900 new enrolments include new recruits to the sector.

This twinned approach is proving fruitful, as almost two dozen apprenticeships have created opportunities for both existing employees as well as newcomers to build a career. A fresh pipeline of talent is addressing the challenge to recruit and maintain staff.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTFW).

Headline sponsor this year was EAL, specialist skills partner and awarding organisation for industry. The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

After receiving the award, Emma Bendle, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s apprenticeship and widening access co-ordinator, said: “I think this amazing award is recognition and validation for the work we have done so far and we will build on this success.

“I have been in post for the past five years and for me, personally, it feels like the passion and hard work that has been put in has paid off for everybody I have recruited as an apprentice or members of staff who have been able to progress. Apprenticeships have opened the door to new opportunities for everybody.

“Apprenticeships operate at varying levels and are matched to our banded roles to ensure suitability and ease of completion. This gives individuals the chance to reach for the stars or jump off where they feel comfortable, promoting a more inclusive approach by meeting the needs of varying skills and abilities.

“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are brilliant. We have heard and seen videos about amazing people and employers who have all benefited from apprenticeships.”

Partnerships have been crucial in delivering the large number of apprenticeship programmes available, with lead training provider ACT also joined by Talk Training, Educ8, ALS Training and Cardiff and Vale College working alongside the health board.

Al Parkes, managing director at EAL, said:
“I would like to congratulate not just the health board and the other award winners, but all the employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners who were nominated.

Chief Executive of the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research, Simon Pirotte OBE, said: “I want to congratulate all the finalists and winners. Stories like theirs drive home the high impact that apprenticeships can have, helping people to find fulfilling employment and contributing to Wales’ skills system. They will be a crucial part of the newly founded Commission for Tertiary Education and Research.”

“Showcasing their achievements is important as it inspires more people to consider apprenticeships and encourages more employers to take on apprentices.”

For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: or call 03000 603000.

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