Cardiff and Abergele companies celebrate double success at apprenticeship awards

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A Cardiff training provider and a North Wales waste and recycling centre both celebrated double success at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015 ceremony last night (Thursday).

Apprenticeship Awards Cymru - Winners and Finalists 2015

Apprenticeship Awards Cymru – Winners and Finalists 2015

ACT Limited held off a challenge by Welshpool-based Cambrian Training Company to collect the Provider Award for Partnership Working and employee Louisa Gregory was named Work Based Learning Practitioner of the Year.

The company, which won the Provider Award for Social Responsiveness at last year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, has 2,161 learners on its books and the ACT network as a whole delivers learning programmes to 4,331 individuals in 22 different sector across Wales.

Louisa, 28, from Cardiff, was nominated for her energy, enthusiasm and creative approach to learning: Twenty-seven of the 30 learners she worked with in the last year secured full time employment.

There was another success for ACT Limited when one of the company’s learners, Cory Rowlands, 18, from Barry, who works as a salesman with family-run Cardiff Bed Store, collected the Traineeship Learner of the Year (Level one) award.

Another double winner was Thorncliffe Abergele, which runs a waste and recycling site in Abergele. The company won the Medium Employer of the Year Award while employee Sean Williams, an ex-offender who has turned his life around, collected the Foundation Apprentice of the Year Award.

Described as “inspirational” for its approach to employing and training staff, the company has 52 employees and has recruited 28 apprentices in the last three years.

The high profile awards ceremony, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, showcased excellence in skills development by learners, employers and learning providers. The ceremony was attended by 450 guests, including 37 finalists in a dozen categories.

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

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.

The Small Employer of the Year Award went to Bridge Dental Care in Newbridge, near Caerphilly, who have recruited two young apprentice dental nurses to help expand the business.

Caldicot-based Mitel, who operate on the competitive world of business communications, collaboration software and services, were named Large Employer of the Year. The company employs five apprentices, all of whom have been taken on in the past year in the customer services division.

EE, one of the largest digital communications companies in the UK, serving more than 30 million customers, collected the Macro Employer of the Year, for companies with more than 5,000 employees. The company employs more than 750 frontline and support staff at its Merthyr Tydfil centre, including 251 apprentices.

The Apprentice of the Year Award went to Liam Gill, 26, from Swansea who changed career from personal trainer to mechanical engineer with Ford Motor Company, Bridgend, where he saved the company more than £80,000 a year with one of his ideas.

Janet Bevan from Treorchy, who works for Cwm Taf University Health Board in Llantrisant, was named Higher Apprentice of the Year. She rejuvenated her career at the age of 53 by taking a Higher Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management, which coincided with promotion to principal occupational therapist for the Older Person’s Mental Health Service.

The Jobs Growth Wales Outstanding Achiever of the Year is Rhys Lloyd, 24, from Hengoed, who suffers with dyslexia and left school early with no qualifications. An Itec Skills and Employment learner, he is now employed by GM Polystyrene where he is taking a Foundation Apprenticeship in Warehousing.

The Traineeship Learner of the Year (Engagement) award went to Coleg Sir Gâr learner Saffron Tinnuche, 18, from Pontarddulais, who has overcome tragedy in her life to lay the foundations of a career as a Butlins Redcoat.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James said: “Congratulations to all winners and finalists at the Apprenticeship Awards. 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.”

The other finalists were: Work-based learning practitioner of the year: Chris Hughes, ACT Limited, Cardiff; Steven Manning, Coleg y Cymoedd, Ystrad Mynach and Sue Jeffries, Cyfle, Cardiff. Macro employer of the year: BT, Cardiff and Lloyds Banking Group, Cardiff. Large employer of the year: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport and Natural Resources Wales, Bangor. Medium employer of the year: Little Inspirations Ltd, Llantrisant and Randall Parker Foods Ltd, Dolwen Llanidloes. Small employer of the year: Destek Accessible Technology Solutions, Port Talbot and Nemein Ltd, Pyle, Bridgend.

Higher Apprentice of the Year: Steve Bergiers, Kidwelly who works for Dyfed Powys Police, Carmarthen and Ellen Evans, Treffos Cottage Nursery, Llansadwrn, Menai Bridge. Apprentice of the Year: Drew Barrett, Rhoose who works for Openreach, Cardiff, Megan Wilkins, Newport who works for Cwmnofydd Farm, Machen and Zoe Batten, Pontypridd who works for British Airways Avionics Engineering, Pontyclun. Foundation Apprentice of the Year: Dylan Jones, Glantwymyn, Machynlleth who works for RWE Innogy Ltd, Llanidloes and Lloyd Price, Merthyr Tydfil who works for EE, Merthyr Tydfil.

Jobs Growth Wales Learner of the Year finalists: Corey McDevitt, 22, Ely, Cardiff; Lisamarie Jones, 19, Llanishen, Cardiff, who are learners with Itec Skills and Employment, Cardiff. Traineeships Learner of the Year (Engagement): Jac Ellis, 18, Caernarfon and Tamsin Austen, 18, Llangefni, both of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Llangefni. Traineeships Learner of the Year (Level 1): Elliot Stephens, 17, Cwmbran from Coleg QS, Cwmbran and Louis Bowen, 17, St Athan, Barry from Motivational Preparation College Training, Bridgend.

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