Nine finalists in running for coveted VQ Awards in Wales

Posted on by karen.smith

Nine finalists have been selected from high quality entries for this year’s prestigious Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards in Wales.

Three companies will contest the VQ Employer of the Year Award while six finalists are in the running to become VQ Learner of the Year in the showpiece awards ceremony on June 4, VQ Day, at Coleg y Cymoedd, Nantgarw. VQ Day is a national celebration of people who have achieved success in vocational education in Wales.

Following the success of last year’s VQ Learner of the Year, Tomi Jones, owner of Jones’s Butchers, Llangollen, another young North Wales butcher is hoping to prove he’s a cut above the rest.

Matthew Edwards, 22, an apprentice butcher with S. A. Vaughan Family Butchers, Penyfford, near Chester, who was nominated by Welshpool-based Cambrian Training Company, is one of the six finalists.

He will be up against Ashleigh Zeta Jones, 22, and Rhys Sinfield who were both nominated by Bridgend College, Corey Nixon who was nominated by Gower College Swansea, Ebbi Ferguson who was nominated by Coleg Sir Gar, Llanelli and St Clears nursery owner Emma Thomas who was nominated by City and County of Swansea Lifelong Learning and Employment Training Service.

The VQ Learner the Year Award recognises learners who clearly demonstrate progression and excellence in vocational studies and have made considerable achievements in their field.

Competing for the VQ Employer of the Year Award are Hengoed Court care home, Swansea, domiciliary care provider Trusting Hands, Ebbw Vale and Village Bakery, Wrexham.

The VQ Employer of the Year Award recognises employers who promote the value of vocational qualifications in the workplace and make a real contribution to improving the skills and national competitiveness.

An initiative established by independent education charity Edge Foundation, VQ Day aims to raise awareness about the role that technical, practical and vocational learning plays in society and in the UK economy.

VQ Day supports the aspiration that vocational qualifications, which are not just for young people, should achieve parity of esteem alongside other educational routes.

Wales’ Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, wished the nine finalists success on June 4. “Vocational Qualifications are the gold standard in professional excellence and we must ensure they are recognised alongside academic qualifications for their value to learners and the Welsh economy.

Wales has a real wealth of talented and committed people who have excelled in their vocational studies and VQ Day is a chance for us to celebrate their achievements. A VQ award is more than just an award; it’s a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession.

It’s also equally important that we recognise the role of employers in promoting vocational qualifications in the workplace. Their support and commitment will be vital if we are to achieve our ambition of creating a more highly-skilled Wales.”

Learning providers across Wales are being encouraged to organise regional events to celebrate VQ Day and engage with learners of all ages. VQ Day and the VQ Awards are co-ordinated in Wales by ColegauCymru and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) with the support of the Welsh Government and part funded by the European Social Fund.

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