Acorn supports people to engage with learning at all levels
A Newport-based training provider has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
Acorn Group is one of 36 finalists in 13 categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2013, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). The business is shortlisted for the Provider Award for Social Responsiveness.
The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes across Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.
The winners will be announced at a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday, October 18.
Vulnerable women from ethnic minorities, refugees, people working in the community and teenagers with special educational needs are among more than 1,000 learners that Acorn Group has helped to complete learning activities over the last year.
Acorn aims to integrate within the communities that it serves by supporting people to engage with the learning arena at lots of different levels across a range of programmes, including apprenticeships.
Over the last year, the company has worked with Oxfam to support and develop women of ethnic minority to achieve a bespoke level one retail qualification and BTEC knowledge technical certificate, boosting their confidence and enabling them to apply for retail roles.
The company has also created a Recognition of Prior Learning programme with the Wales Refugee Council to deliver unit accreditation to residents in Cardiff who have now become citizens in Wales.
In addition, Acorn has delivered the QWEST programme, which engages adult learners, who may be unemployed, volunteering or working less than 16 hours per week, to study community development as a qualification.
The company has also delivered qualifications to pupils aged 16 and 17, who have special educational needs or have become disengaged from learning. This year 21 pupils achieved the BTEC Award in Work Skills at entry level.
“We are working in local communities in Wales supporting individuals to benefit from a positive learning experience and to recognise their achievements,” said Sarah John, Acorn’s commercial director.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said: “The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru remind us of the incredible wealth of talent that Wales has to offer and the outstanding achievements of Wales’ learners, employers and learning providers.
“Apprenticeships play an integral role in our economy. Not only do they provide essential skills and qualifications, but are in themselves life-changing opportunities for young people and, for employers, a major investment that’s paying real dividend to their bottom line and in the skills of their workforce.
“We know that apprenticeships deliver real business benefits and that’s why the Welsh Government, with support from the European Social Fund, continues to invest heavily in opportunities for young people to take up apprenticeships and continues to support employers who want to invest in the future of their workforce.
“Through their passion and dedication, the finalists announced at this year’s awards will inspire countless others to strive for excellence and demonstrate the tremendous impact that vocational training can have. I wish all of our finalists the very best as they continue to make great contributions in their chosen fields.”
Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.
More than 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high profile awards ceremony, where guests will dine out with chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team.