Award winner Mitel makes apprenticeships key part of its core business strategy
Nasdaq quoted Mitel, which specialises in business communications, collaboration software and services, triumphed at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.
The Caldicot-based company was name Large Employer of the Year at the high profile awards ceremony, attended by 450 guests at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday.
Cenydd Burden, Mitel’s director of services, said the company was “chuffed” to win the award and praised the contribution of service manager Liz Watts and the apprentices.
“Winning this award creates a wonderful buzz in the organisation,” he added. “Due to the publicity surrounding these awards, we have started to get noticed in the rest of the Mitel organisation and they are now looking to do a similar scheme around the world.”
The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Mitel has more than 60 million users in 100 countries, is the market share leader in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is a recognised leader in unified communications.
The majority of the company’s 340 employees are at its regional headquarters in South Wales where it provides technical assistance to customers and partners. The competitive world in which it works means the company must recruit and retain staff who know the sector and customers well.
Mitel began its Apprenticeship programme in 2007 and currently employs five apprentices, all of whom have been taken on in the past year. The company recruits and trains apprentices within its customer services division to plug the skills gap, training young people with no previous technical skills.
Current apprentices focus on IT technical support and follow the IT Telecoms and Professional Apprenticeship framework.
“Our Apprenticeship programme is an integral part to Mitel’s core strategy, which is linked to growing our cloud business and business in the contact centre market,” said Tim Gwatkin, human resources manager.
“We had been finding it increasingly difficult to find candidates with the right mix of technical skills in addition to the ability to effectively support and interact with customers.”
Working with training provider Newport-based Acorn Learning Solutions, the company has developed an effective two-year Apprenticeship programme.
“The Apprenticeship programme gives young people the opportunity to develop their skills within the IT sector and in return they add real value to the business,” said Sean Driscoll, corporate development manager at Acorn Learning Solutions.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James said: “Congratulations to all winners and finalists. We have some truly exceptional apprentices and learners here in Wales and these awards provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements.
“Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent. Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy.”