Apprentices fly high at Airbus

Posted on by karen.smith

Beth Pickering

Airbus has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award that recognises the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships across Wales.

The Broughton-based aerospace company is one of 19 finalists in six categories of the Apprenticeships Awards Cymru, organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation Wales (NTfW). Welsh Government apprenticeship programmes are part funded by the European Social Fund.

Two of Airbus’ apprentices, Richard Wilkins from Acrefair, and Beth Pickering from Mold, are also finalists in the Apprentice of the Year category at the awards.

The winners will be announced at a high profile presentation ceremony at the
Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, Cardiff, on Wednesday, 16th November. Main sponsor of the awards, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is Pearson and media partner for the event is Media Wales.

Airbus, which has taken on 850 apprentices over the past five years, is a finalist in the Large Company category. The company has challenged the current thinking around higher level skills within its apprenticeship programme with the development of an innovative model that it believes is a true alternative to university.

Airbus Higher Apprentices have the chance to achieve a full BEng with Hons in aeronautical engineering manufacture within the normal three year apprenticeship.

Gary Griffiths, Head of Apprenticeship Programmes for Airbus in the UK.

“Our Higher Apprentices will not only achieve a foundation degree, a foundation PEO, an NVQ Level 4 in Engineering leadership, but also a full BEng with Honours,” said Gary Griffiths, Head of Apprenticeship Programmes for Airbus in the UK.

Apprentice Richard Wilkins has even identified savings of over £170,000 within the company through improving the way stock is managed. “Airbus has provided me with a unique opportunity and I have tried to do the best I possibly can to repay the level of investment I have received,” he said.

It’s turning out be a memorable year for Richard, for this week he was joint runner up for the Engineering Employers Federation Apprentice of the Year award for Wales.

Richard Wilkins

Around 250 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.

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “I have been encouraged by the extremely high standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which shows the strength of apprenticeship delivery in Wales.

“Irrespective of whether or not they collect an award, the 19 finalists are all winners. Each has an inspiring story to tell, making them true ambassadors for apprenticeship programmes in Wales.

“The Welsh Government is committed to creating more apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Wales and continuing to support employers who are willing to offer high quality apprenticeship places.”

The NTfW is a network of 90 quality assured learning providers, which has links to 35,000 employers across Wales.

President Lord Ted Rowlands said: “Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcases and celebrates the achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training, demonstrated initiative and enterprise, innovation and creativity and shown an understanding and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.”

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