Council’s commitment to apprenticeships earns place in national awards

Posted on by karen.smith

High employment retention rates demonstrate how apprenticeships are making a difference for Flintshire County Council, which has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

The county council is one of 36 finalists in 13 categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2013, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). It has been shortlisted for the Macro Employer of the Year award.

Heather Johnson (centre), Flintshire County Council’s learning and development manager, with apprentices.

The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes across Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.

The winners will be announced at a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday, October 18.

The council has recruited 412 apprentices over the past five years through two strands and currently employs 220. The first strand recruits apprentices of all ages annually to undertake a particular Apprenticeship Programme, while the second strand has been developed for existing staff across all departments who benefit from work-based learning.

“The provision of apprenticeships is a priority for the council. The Apprenticeship Programme is being expanded across both strands to include Higher Apprenticeships and additional areas of learning, such as construction and facilities,” said Heather Johnson, learning and development manager at Flintshire County Council.

“The high retention rates impact positively on trainees and the organisation.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said: “The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru remind us of the incredible wealth of talent that Wales has to offer and the outstanding achievements of Wales’ learners, employers and learning providers.

“Apprenticeships play an integral role in our economy. Not only do they provide essential skills and qualifications, but are in themselves life-changing opportunities for young people and, for employers, a major investment that’s paying real dividend to their bottom line and in the skills of their workforce.

“We know that apprenticeships deliver real business benefits and that’s why the Welsh Government, with support from the European Social Fund, continues to invest heavily in opportunities for young people to take up apprenticeships and continues to support employers who want to invest in the future of their workforce.

“Through their passion and dedication, the finalists announced at this year’s awards will inspire countless others to strive for excellence and demonstrate the tremendous impact that vocational training can have. I wish all of our finalists the very best as they continue to make great contributions in their chosen fields.”

Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.

More than 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high profile awards ceremony, where guests will dine out with chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team.

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