Kronospan embeds apprenticeships into business plan

Posted on by karen.smith

Ben Hipkiss, Kronospan, Chirk, (centre) chats with apprentices Ryan Ankers (left) and Ben Edwards

Chirk-based Kronospan 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 world’s largest manufacturer of wood panel products and laminate flooring company is one of 19 finalists in six categories of the Apprenticeships 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.

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.

Kronospan, which is a finalist in the Large Company category, cites work-based learning as the future of engineering training after introducing an apprenticeship programme eight years ago. The company has recruited 40 apprentices in that time, with 33 still employed at the firm.

Ben Hipkiss, HR Manager at Kronospan, said: “As a company we are aware that our greatest resource is our employees and we have made the commitment to their continuing personal development despite the financial constraints that most businesses face in the current economic climate.”

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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