North Wales man shortlisted for national award says ‘no barriers to changing career’
A 65-year-old man from Corwen in North Wales 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.
Chris Readman, who works at The Bala Lake Hotel and Activity Centre, part of the John Lewis Partnership, 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.
The winners will be announced at a high profile presentation ceremony at the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel, Cardiff, on Wednesday, November 16. The main sponsor of the awards, which aim to showcase excellence in skills development in Wales, is Pearson and the media partner for the event is Media Wales.
Chris, who joined the hotel in 2008, taking on responsibility for the golf course and grounds, has now completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Horticulture with Deeside College. Training for the National Proficiency Tests Council Level 2 qualification all took place at work.
“At the age of 65, I like to think I have set an example to people of all ages that there are no barriers to changing career direction or achieving qualifications,” said Chris.
“I had been made redundant a few years earlier, when in my 50s. At the age of 62 and after 30 plus years in a white collar job my decision to completely change career was a difficult one. The Apprenticeship training was something I wanted to do to improve my skills and it has really benefited me.”
Michael Holdich, hotel manager, said: “Chris has shown amazing enthusiasm and passion in his work, designing and creating a six-hole golf course and getting it up and running in a very short timescale.
“He has gained further qualifications whilst working full-time on the estate, using his knowledge to recommend and suggest with confidence the way forward for the hotel grounds and estate. Chris has shown that by continuing to develop and study in a career that he changed to later in life is completely achievable and can lead to job satisfaction and reward.”
Chris has been shortlisted in the Foundation Apprentice of the Year category. The other award categories are: Apprentice of the Year, Young Apprentice of the Year, Medium Employer of the Year, Large Employer of the Year and Apprenticeship Provider of the Year.
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.”