Chairman challenges learning providers to become world class

Posted on by karen.smith

NTfW Chairman, Arwyn Watkins

The retiring chairman of the National Training Federation Wales is to challenge members of the nation’s work-based learning network to upskill their own staff to deliver world class learning programmes.

Arwyn Watkins will take the chair for the last time at the NTfW’s Annual Conference at Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, on November 17, after two and half terms in the hot seat.

The 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. The NTfW is a network of 109 quality assured learning providers, which has links to 35,000 employers across Wales.

Mr Watkins will use the theme to challenge members to improve the way they work together as a network to deliver high quality work-based learning programmes for the Welsh Government.

He will also urge members to focus on their own staff development programmes to ensure that they are best equipped to deliver skills to help Wales compete with the world’s best.

Mr Watkins, managing director of award-winning Cambrian Training Company, based in Welshpool, said his primary motivation as NTfW chairman had always been to raise the profile of work-based learning apprenticeships as an option for learners.

“This year has seen a major change in the way work-based learning is commissioned in Wales from a high quality, high performing network of providers, who are all members of the NTfW,” he said.

“The challenge now is how the network improves the way in works together to provide seamless pathways for learners from traineeships and Steps to Employment to apprenticeships and sustainable jobs.

“The recent WorldSkills 2011 event in London set the global benchmark for skills and our apprentices, mentors and trainers must aspire to achieve that standard if we are to develop a world class economy in Wales.

“It is critical that we, as providers, support lifelong learning for our workforce so that we have the skills and competencies to deliver higher level apprenticeships, which will enable Wales to compete with the best in the world.”

Another keynote speaker, Professor Teresa Rees from School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, will also focus her address on lifelong learning. She will call for more value to be attached to vocational training and more opportunities for accessing it throughout life.

Other keynote speakers are the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills Jeff Cuthbert, AM, Teresa Holdsworth, deputy director of business and skills division in the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills and Lord Ted Rowlands, NTfW president.

Three workshops will be held focusing on continuing professional development for business leaders and managers, work-based learning, leading the way on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship and the NTfW constitution.

The conference follows on from the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru ceremony at the same hotel on the night of November 16. Designed to celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with NTfW and main sponsor Pearson.

The conference is sponsored by Agored Cymru, Pearson, Media Wales, City & Guilds and ILM. To book a place at the conference or the awards ceremony, contact Karen Smith, NTfW’s project manager, on Tel: 029 2061 8228 or e-mail:

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