Apprentices go from strength to strength at Valero

Posted on by karen.smith

Oil refining and marketing company Valero is to continue with its award winning apprenticeship scheme in Pembrokeshire and has recruited more young people to the programme.

The US-owned company acquired the Pembroke site from Chevron in August and immediately recognised the importance of the refinery’s apprenticeship scheme, which was named the Modern Apprenticeship Employer Award winner at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru in 2009.

Since receiving the award in 2009 the Pembroke refinery has been inundated with applicants for apprenticeship positions. At one point the site had more than 200 people apply for 16 apprenticeship positions.

“Valero is committed to the development of apprentices and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru is a good example of how businesses can demonstrate the importance of apprenticeships,” added Robert Weeks from Valero.

The 2011 Apprenticeship Awards Cymru takes place in Cardiff on November 16, 2011 and entries for the competition must be submitted by 12 noon tomorrow (Wednesday, September 28). The awards are supported by the Welsh Government and are being organised by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “It is very encouraging to see examples of companies benefiting from apprenticeship schemes like this. Apprenticeship Awards Cymru is about showcasing such successes and encouraging more businesses to take on apprentices.

“The Welsh Government is committed to creating more apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Wales and continue to support employers who are willing to offer high quality apprenticeship places. Our Young Recruits Programme supports employers to recruit and train additional young apprentices – 16-24 year olds. This programme has been instrumental in sustaining employer confidence in apprenticeship recruitment.”

For more details about the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru and to download an application form, visit

The awards, which are free to enter, are split into eight categories: Foundation Apprentice of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, Young Apprentice of the Year, Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year, Employer of the Year, Medium Employer (10-49 employees) of the Year, Large Employer (50+ employees) of the Year and Apprenticeship Provider of the Year.

From the applications, three finalists will be selected in each category by a distinguished panel of judges. The finalists must be available for filming between October 19 and November 4, 2011.

Around 250 stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high profile awards ceremony at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel.

“It is widely recognised that apprenticeships combine the key elements of work experience and high quality training, which are necessary for sustained employment and high productivity, both of which are required if Welsh businesses are to compete in the ever changing global economy,” said Arwyn Watkins, NTfW chairman.

The awards are being held on the eve of the NTfW’s Annual Conference, also at Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, on November 17. This year’s conference theme, ‘Standing up for Skills’, focuses on the benefits and value of vocational skills and training in working with businesses to deliver for Wales. Further information can be accessed at Mr Cuthbert is among the keynote speakers.

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