Housing Association helps build apprentices of the future

Posted on by karen.smith

Apprentice carpenter James Bannister with his mentor Lester Parry, Monmouthshire Housing Association’s operations manager

Monmouthshire Housing Association has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award that recognises the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships across Wales.

The housing association, which is in the Medium Employer category, is one of 19 finalists in six categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation Wales (NTfW). Welsh Government apprenticeship programmes are part funded by the European Social Fund.

One of the association’s apprentices, James Bannister from Abergavenny, is also a finalist in the Apprentice of the Year category at the awards.

The winners will be announced at a high profile presentation ceremony at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, Cardiff on Wednesday, 16th November. Main sponsor of the awards, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is Pearson and media partner for the event is Media Wales.

With 14 apprentices currently working in a range of apprenticeship frameworks, including plumbing and heating, electrical, painting and decorating, plastering, carpentry, roofing, and business administration, Monmouthshire Housing Association believes apprenticeships are key to the success of the business which has 3,600 properties in its portfolio.

“We find that apprenticeships are particularly beneficial in roles that lend themselves to learning both off the job and in the workplace,” said Karen Williams, HR Manager. “For example, one of the most important abilities of our trade staff is to interact with our tenants whilst working in their homes. This can only be learned on the job.”

Apprentice James Bannister said the opportunity to work and train with Monmouthshire Housing Association had opened up new opportunities for him. “It has made me realise that hard work can get you anywhere and given me something to be proud of,” he said.

Around 250 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.

Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said: “I have been encouraged by the extremely high standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which shows the strength of apprenticeship delivery in Wales.

“Irrespective of whether or not they collect an award, the 19 finalists are all winners. Each has an inspiring story to tell, making them true ambassadors for apprenticeship programmes in Wales.

“The Welsh Government is committed to creating more apprenticeship opportunities for young people in Wales and continuing to support employers who are willing to offer high quality apprenticeship places.”

The NTfW is a network of 90 quality assured learning providers, which has links to 35,000 employers across Wales.

President Lord Ted Rowlands said: “Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcases and celebrates the achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training, demonstrated initiative and enterprise, innovation and creativity and shown an understanding and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.”

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