Global aviation company lifts off with national apprenticeship award

Posted on by karen.smith

GE Aviation Wales’ managing director Mike Patton (left), shared services operations leader Andy Reid and apprentice co-ordinator Louise Burnell celebrate with the Large Employer of the Year award.

A global aviation company with a base in Wales, which invests more than £1million a year in its Apprenticeship Programme, has won a prestigious national award.

Nantgarw-based GE Aviation Wales was named Large Employer of the Year at the high profile Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014 ceremony, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday (October 31).

Andy Reid, shared services operations leader, said the award was a wonderful celebration of the business’ workforce. “I started as an apprentice in the business in 1979 and our apprenticeship programme is getting bigger and better with more talent every year,” he added.

“We have a very talented group of individuals in the business ready for the future. Winning this award means a huge amount and it’s a reward for a team effort. I can’t wait to get back to the business and tell them the news.”

The awards, divided into 13 categories, are organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales by learners, employers and learning providers, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC 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.

As a global aviation company, GE Aviation Wales must ensure it has well-equipped, trained and qualified employees. Apprentices are an intrinsic part of the company’s fabric, not only ensuring well-trained employees, but encouraging new ideas and the development of procedures that enhance the global business.
Over the past 12 months, the company has employed 23 apprentices and currently employs more than 150 engineering apprentices, interns and graduates. The company works with Coleg y Cymoedd in providing its Apprenticeship Programme, which over the last 20 years has supported more than 500 apprentices.

“Apprentices are a vital part of our training programmes which create a dynamic environment, developing our business and maintaining it as a global leader in our field,” said Mr Reid. “Through our continued investment in skills and training, we have been able to further boost our operating performance and increase the productivity of the business.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James said: “Apprenticeships are one of the most practical and cost effective ways for a business to build a skilled workforce. An apprentice can learn the skills an employer needs to keep pace with developments in their industry and deliver the service customers demand.

“I am delighted that employers like GE Aviation share the Welsh Government’s commitment to training our future workforce.”

More than 400 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales attended the awards ceremony, where guests dined out with chefs from the Culinary Team Wales.

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