Best in Wales celebrated at apprenticeship awards ceremony
Directors of a Cardiff-based special effects company, who are more used to working behind the scenes on popular television series including Dr Who and Casualty, enjoyed their moment in the spotlight last night (Friday) at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
Carmela and Danny Hargreaves, from Real SFX, collected the Small Employer of the Year award at the ceremony, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, which brought together the cream of learners, employers and training providers across Wales.
Two North East Wales butchers, who have both been crowned Welsh Young Butcher of the Year, also collected awards. Tom Jones, of Jones Butchers, Llangollen, was named Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year, while Matthew Edwards, who works for Vaughan’s Family Butchers, Penyfford, near Chester, received the Foundation Apprentice of the Year.
Cutting edge technology in world leading businesses, bespoke Apprenticeship Programmes designed to meet the needs of industry and inspirational individual success stories were celebrated at the awards ceremony.
Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales, the awards were organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and sponsored by Pearson with support from media partner Media Wales.
The awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training. They are also a great way to evaluate training and development, as well as a fantastic motivational factor for any workforce or learner.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Success in training young apprentices for the construction industry was rewarded when Carmarthenshire Construction Training Association Ltd (CCTAL) received the Medium Employer of the Year Award.
Investment in excess of £1 million a year in apprenticeships was recognised as GE Aviation Wales of Nantgarw collected the award for Large Employer of the Year, while BBC Cymru Wales reaped the rewards of developing young talent by collecting the award for Macro Employer of the Year.
The Apprenticeship Provider of the Year award went to Cardiff’s Babcock Training which has more than 1,000 learners in Wales, while another capital based company, ACT Training, won the award for Provider Award for Social Responsiveness.
The Higher Apprentice of the Year Award returns to Airbus Operations Ltd, Broughton, this time in the possession of Devon Sumner and saving his employer up to £6 million in penalties helped James Parry from Pentre, Rhondda Cynon Taff, win the Apprentice of the Year award.
Helen Brickley, 24, Pontllanffraith, Blackwood, who got her break in the fashion industry thanks to Jobs Growth Wales, was named the programme’s Outstanding Achiever of the Year.
Young chef Nicole Evans, Bangor, who has found her true vocation in life, was named the Traineeships Learner of the Year (Engagement) while Ashley Coleman, Cardiff, was rewarded for his dedication as he received the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Level 1) award.
The winners were: Small Employer of the Year Medium Employer of the Year, Real SFX, Cardiff. Medium Employer of the Year, Carmarthenshire Construction Training Association Ltd (CCTAL). Large Employer of the Year, GE Aviation Wales, Nantgarw. Macro Employer of the Year, BBC Cymru Wales. Apprenticeship Provider of the Year, Babcock Training Limited, Cardiff. Apprenticeship Provider for Social Responsiveness, ACT Training, Cardiff.
Higher Apprentice of the Year Award, Devon Sumner, Airbus Operations Ltd, Broughton. Apprentice of the Year, James Parry from Pentre, Rhondda Cynon Taff. Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year, Tom Jones, Jones Butchers, Llangollen. Foundation Apprentice of the Year, Matthew Edwards, Vaughan’s Family Butchers, Penyfford, near Chester
Jobs Growth Wales Outstanding Achiever of the Year, Helen Brickley, Pontllanffraith, Blackwood. Traineeships Learner of the Year (Engagement), Nicole Evans, Bangor. Traineeship Learner of the Year (Level 1), Ashley Coleman, Cardiff.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James said: “These have been my first Apprenticeship Awards Cymru and I’ve been impressed by the standard of entries. I’m very pleased to see so many employers supporting apprenticeship schemes and the enthusiasm and aspiration of young people on these programmes is infectious.
“Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training schemes such as apprenticeships but they are a shared responsibility between the education sector, businesses, individuals as well as government.
“We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe, particularly in providing opportunity for younger entrants. Today more than eight out of ten people complete their apprenticeship.
“We offer a wide range of skills training across Wales and the awards are an opportunity to celebrate the success of this work.”
Arwyn Watkins, NTfW chief executive, said: “These awards showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to learning and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to improve their skills to support the Welsh economy.”
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