NTfW Newsletter – July 2016

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Policy Solutions – The Value of Skills to the Economy

The National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru and the Learning and Work Institute are running a series of five Policy Solution events to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to key challenges in public policy, focusing on post-16 education and training.

The third in our series of Policy Solution seminars – The Value of Skills to the Economy, looks to stimulate discussion on the role of post-16 education and training with industry.

How can we be more collaborative and innovative and support the growth of Wales’ economy?

We believe that it’s time to celebrate existing good practice as well as to take a strategic look at the potential for innovation and change.

This event will showcase excellent partnerships between industry and the education and skills sector. It will also consider what needs to be done to ensure an aligned, collaborative, strategic and sustainable model for the future.

The remaining two seminars in the Policy Solutions series are:

Thursday 4 August
Welsh Language Skills for Work at the Eisteddfod in Abergavenny

Tuesday 16 September 2016
Delivering World Class Apprenticeships in Wales at Ty Hywel, Cardiff Bay

For more information and to book onto these events please email Wendy.Ellaway-Lock@learningandwork.org.uk

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Achievements of learners and employers celebrated at VQ Awards

A young woman from Llanelli who is blazing a trail in the hospitality industry, a woman who has been promoted from administrator to docks and marina supervisor at the Port of Milford Haven and a successful North Wales recycling company were the main winners at this year’s Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards.

Ten finalists and their learning providers gathered at St David’s Hotel and Spa, Cardiff, on the eve of VQ Day, to discover who had won the awards, which were presented by Minister for Skills and Science Julie James.

The annual awards, organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, celebrate the achievements of both learners and employers across Wales.

The VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year Award went to Elizabeth Forkuoh, Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli, who was nominated by Coleg Sir Gâr, Llanelli. Multilingual Elizabeth, 20, who speaks Italian, English, Twi, French and some Welsh, won gold awards at the Skills Competitions Wales and WorldSkills UK. She now has secured a coveted place on the WorldSkills Squad UK and hopes to compete in WorldSkills Abu Dhabi in 2017. Read more >>>

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Raising the profile of Bilingual Skills

Gwhoddiad Invitation-Cyflogiaith
NTfW’s Bilingual Champion is working closely with Sgiliaith on the exciting second ‘Cyflogiaith’ (Bilingualism@Work) Conference, which is to be held on Thursday 21 July 2016 at Ocean Park House, East Tyndall Street, Cardiff.

The event aims to share good practice across the work-based learning (WBL) sector in Wales, but also goes one step further, where there will be guest speakers from local employers who will speak about their attitudes and requirements in relation to Welsh language skills in the workplace.

The conference is free to attend and is aimed at Managers and Practitioners from within work-based learning; however, NTfW and Sgiliaith are interested in hearing more from employers and other stakeholders who are interested in discussing the importance of Welsh skills in the workplace.

To register on the event, please click here.

Following on from the success of the Vocational Competitions at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Flintshire in June 2016, the WBL Bilingual Champion is currently working with ColegauCymru, Urdd Gobaith Cymru and Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales (ISEiW) to introduce additional vocational competitions at future Urdd Eisteddfods. The aim is to further widen access to the Eisteddfod but also to highlight Welsh skills in the workplace; whilst also allowing for progression onto the WorldSkills arena.

More information will be made available shortly; however, should you wish to support the introduction of new vocational competitions, please do not hesitate to contact the WBL Bilingual Champion via email ryan.evans@ntfw.org

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SkillsCymru is a series of two inspiring and interactive events that help connect talented young people with job, career and skills opportunities across Wales.
Exhibiting at SkillsCymru offers your organisation the opportunity to be part of a great event.

Bringing together employers, colleges,training providers, universities and career sectors under one roof, one time to engage with 10,000 motivated visitors.

If you are interested in exhibiting please call Gabrielle McEvans on 01823 362811 or email gabrielle.mcevans@prospects.co.uk

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New appointments strengthen work-based learning provider network in Wales

The NTfW’s new interim chairperson Sarah John (centre) with Kelly Edwards (left) with Humie Webbe.

The NTfW’s new interim chairperson Sarah John (centre) with Kelly Edwards (left) with Humie Webbe.

The National Training Federation for Wales, which represents work-based learning providers across the nation, has made three new appointments.

Sarah John, commercial director at Newport-based Acorn, takes over as interim chairperson from Peter Rees, a former assistant principal of Coleg Sir Gâr in West Wales, following his retirement. She will remain in the post at least until the NTfW’s annual meeting in September.

Sarah has been involved in work-based learning for 22 years and has been an NTfW board member for two years as South East Wales regional chair.

Strengthening the NTfW team are Kelly Edwards, who joins the Cardiff-based organisation as head of work-based learning quality and Humie Webbe who has been appointed equality and diversity champion. Both women are vastly experienced in their areas of expertise and their appointments are jointly funded for two years by the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund. Read More>>>

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News from the Regions

Launch of new business directory highlights energy sector in North Wales

North Wales Business Directory
The North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) is pleased to announce the official launch of its second regional business directory focusing on the Energy & Environment capability within North Wales, continuing its work to promote the regional economy since the NWEAB’s first regional Directory of Manufacturing Capability across the region.

With over 150 companies currently listed, the new Energy and Environment Directory clearly illustrates the strength and depth of this sector, and acts as a tool and reference point for businesses, education & skills providers, and others, as the Directory aims to introduce the reader to the range and scope of excellence that exists within the Energy and Environment Sector across North Wales.

The Directory’s primary functions can be summarised as:

  • Raise the profile of North Wales as an excellent location for energy and environment sector businesses to prosper
  • Facilitate greater business to business contracting and supply chain activities;
  • Encourage regional networking and collaboration between the private and public sectors,
  • A source of information and for education and training to inform the skills pipeline.

The NWEAB worked with employers across the region via representation from each of the 6 Local Authorities in North Wales who collaboratively sourced the business information and provided links with, and details from specialist and key employers from this sector for inclusion in the directory.

The Directory can be accessed online via the link: http://energyandenvironmentaldirectorynorthwales.co.uk/

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Students have been bridging the generational gap with a show at a Wrexham care home

Coleg Cambria’s health and social care students, who have been visiting residents at Pendine Park’s Hillbury and Gwern Alyn care homes as part of their course, marked the end of their seven month project by staging a ‘tea dance’ show, featuring 1940s style entertainment for the residents.

Students performed a Laurel and Hardy sketch and a tribute to The Andrews Sisters, with the rest of the show featuring singing, dancing and poetry recitals.
They have visited the residents at the homes each week for seven months to gain a practical insight into working with elderly people and dementia patients, getting to know the residents and forming strong relationships with them.

Both homes are part of the Pendine Park care organisation.

Ann Farr, centre manager at the Pendine Academy training centre, said: “We have an ongoing link with Coleg Cambria and have provided individual work placements for social care students in the past.

“But for 2016 we decided to offer a group course, helping equip more students with the basic skills required for a career in the care sector.

“We have been delighted with the way it has gone, both the warm welcome our elderly residents gave the students, and the way the students reciprocated this with genuine respect and consideration for residents they have helped care for.”

Wendy Fowler, director of health care and child care at Coleg Cambria, said: “This has been a wonderful experience which we could not possibly have provided without the assistance of Pendine Park.

“For students to have the opportunity to step out of the classroom like this and meet and work with elderly residents in an everyday setting is invaluable for them. We are indebted to Ann, Claire and their entire team.”

Three of the students who took part, Emily Williams, Lauren Evans and Alisha Bagnall, all aged 17, have gained part-time jobs with Pendine Park as a direct result of the course.

They will be working with the organisation’s full-time ‘enrichment programmes’ teams.

Emily said: “We will help with everything from larger events such as today’s tea dance and musical entertainment for residents, to board games, coffee mornings and fundraising activities, to smaller scale social activities such as just sitting down and chatting for a while with residents.

“The skills we’ve learned through this course have helped us enormously both when it came to applying for the part time positions and also by opening our eyes to the practical sides of working in the care sector in future.”

Olga Ord, who celebrated her 84th birthday on the same day as the tea dance, said residents looked forward to the students coming in.
She said: “They are so cheerful and smiling, and hard workers too. It’s lovely to see them and chat.”

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Learner volunteers from Rathbone Training in Neath achieve national recognition

Young volunteers from Neath have been given a national award for their support for a local foodbank.

Learners from Rathbone Training received a National Volunteer Award from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) for their work with Neath Foodbank where they regularly help weigh, sort, pack and deliver food hampers.

The award was presented as part of Volunteers’ Week in Wales which ran from 1st to the 12th of June this year and was extended to incorporate the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.

‘’I am extremely grateful for the help that the Young People from Rathbone and their staff have provided this Community initiative. They contribute extremely well to all tasks involved in the organisation of providing food parcels to those less fortunate than others and have shown true commitment and compassion to supporting us to meet the needs of others within the local area,” said Yvonne Davies, Volunteer Coordinator for the Neath Food Bank.

The initiative with the foodbank was initially forged over a year ago by tutor Amy Evans and classroom assistant Sophie Kendall as an enrichment activity for new learners coming into Rathbone Training and those on a Traineeship learning programme who were looking for work experience.

“Our young people have developed an excellent working relationship with the food bank and this project has been invaluable in supporting our learners to develop and improve their communication and numeracy skills, improving knowledge on community issues, team working skills, confidence and an abundance of interpersonal and employability skills,” said Christina Thomas, Youth Programmes Manager for Rathbone Training in Neath.

The project has also supported the learners and given community benefit in their work towards the Welsh Government’s ‘Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship’ (ESDGC) initiative to build better communities.

“Working at the foodbank has helped to break down preconceptions that some of our learner had about why people use a foodbank. It has firmly put into perspective the need for food banks and the struggle that young people may face when dealing with issues such as unemployment, homelessness and substance abuse,” added Christina.

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Strategic Review undertaken of the Regional Learning Partnership

SQW have recently completed a strategic review of the Regional Learning Partnership (RLP) to identify key factors in moving the partnership forward towards 2020.

The report has made a number of recommendations including renaming the organisation to the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership and a greater involvement by the employers in the region to influence the training provision in accordance with the requirements of industry in the area. In line with the RLP’s geography the plan will aim to support the work of the Swansea Bay City Region and the Growing Mid Wales Partnership, taking close consideration of the identified priorities for those areas, ensuring synergy where possible.

The plan is being completed through a phased approach, each with unique focus and aims. Phase one was completed at the end March 2016 and included outlining the proposed approach and identifying appropriate data sources and evidence as well as the commissioning of a joint intensive research exercise for large companies in the South and Mid Wales areas with colleagues from LSkIP and our own on line survey with small and medium size enterprises. The surveys are providing an in-depth analysis of data that will provide much needed timely and representative information about the challenges faced by some of our key employers.

Phase two is currently underway and includes extensive consultation with both employers and providers. The consultations will also be supported by the work undertaken by the Understand, Co-produce, Influence, Learning (UCIL) programme led by a team within the RLP, which is currently working with small businesses in the region to identify barriers and co-create new ways to engage with and increase take-up of skills provision which will add value to the development of the plan. The full plan will be submitted to Welsh Government by the 29th July 2016.

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Young People get Big Break into the Creative Industries through Media Apprenticeships

Twenty future key players in Wales’ creative industries sector are celebrating the success of their media apprenticeships as they come to a close after a packed twelve-month training and practical work-based programme with companies including BBC Cymru Wales, ITV Cymru Wales and Orchard Entertainment. All participants will either be taking up employment opportunities now being offered to them, or will move onto further education, as a result of the scheme which is delivered by Sgil Cymru.

The apprentices, aged 16 – 24, who have been working across south Wales, have also learned about essential aspects of creative and digital media, through training by Sgil Cymru at their base at Pinewood Studio Wales, covering career essentials from video production to CV writing.

Tom Parry, 19, from Caerphilly, is coming to the end of twelve months working as a camera apprentice on award-winning medical drama Casualty, and has now been offered a twelve month contract with the BBC Cymru Wales. Tom said “I never would have been able to get into this position without the apprenticeship. It really has changed my life.

Employment offers have also followed for apprentices from other host companies including Cardiff Theatrical Services and film and TV production company Sports Media Services.

Nia Yorke, 19, from Ely in Cardiff, has been working for ITV Cymru Wales in programme production. She is about to start her career as a freelance production specialist, and ITV Cymru Wales have already hired her to work on the forthcoming EU referendum coverage. Nia said “Before I did this I was working night shifts in a fast food outlet, and now I’m working all night covering elections! I would never have expected to be doing this dream job a year ago.”

While this apprenticeship programme is now coming to an end, Sgil Cymru have thirty new Level 3 and Level 4 apprenticeship roles starting this Summer, ranging from media production with BBC Cymru Wales and ITV Cymru Wales to a brand new selection of marketing-related jobs on offer from twelve different companies including Golley Slater, Equinox and Buzz Magazine.

Sue Jeffries, Managing Director of Sgil Cymru commented “The first year programme has been hugely successful, and the team here, along with high-profile employers in south Wales are looking forward to welcoming all of our new apprentices next month.

“With some really special and varied Level 3 opportunities at BBC Cymru Wales and ITV Cymru Wales coming up for those aged 16 – 24 to apply for, our Level 4 vacancies are across some very exciting marketing, design, IT and event-related companies, which are open to those aged 18+.”

This Apprenticeship programme is part financed by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government. This Apprenticeship has been made possible through Cardiff and Vale College Apprenticeships; the Lead Training Provider for the Quality Skills Alliance (QSA) Consortium. Cardiff and Vale College Apprenticeships have been awarded a contract by the Welsh Government to deliver work based learning programmes across Wales.

The Quality Skills Alliance (QSA) is a collaboration of 22 WBL providers who operate in specialised sectors and bring their skills and expertise to Apprenticeship delivery. Cardiff and Vale College Apprenticeships and the QSA cover a very wide geographical area with provision extending pan-Wales. Cardiff and Vale College Apprenticeships and the QSA offer a broad range of programmes and work across 25 different vocational routes.

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VSP’s Estyn report shows excellent prospects in first Estyn report

Vocational Skills Partnership (Wales) Ltd (VSP) has achieved high acclaim in its first Estyn report.

The training consortium, which delivers high quality work-based learning qualifications and Jobs Growth Wales opportunities, has been recognised for demonstrating “significant examples of sector-leading practice” whilst helping learners achieve their apprenticeship frameworks.

The consortium’s current performance was rated as “good” by Estyn and its prospects for improvement were rated as “excellent.”

In its report, the education watchdog said that VSP “has excellent partnership arrangements” and “works with a wide range of key partners, employers and stakeholders to meet the needs of learners well.”

VSP was established in 2010 in response to the Welsh Government’s transformation agenda and is a joint venture owned equally by Aspiration Training Ltd, Educ8 Ltd, Network Training Services Ltd and TSW Training Ltd.

Lynn Forrester-Walker, chair of the VSP board, said: “We are all so proud of the achievements highlighted in our first report as a consortium.

“To be recognised for our partnership working is testament to the relationships we have worked so hard to forge between ourselves and other organisations. These relationships are key to ensuring that learners achieve their apprenticeship frameworks successfully and progress in many cases to higher level training.”

Working across a number of sectors including Business Administration, Butchery, Childcare, Customer Service, Health and Social Care and Manufacturing, VSP is one of only 25 work-based learning contract holders in Wales.

Inspectors said that assessors and tutors have “very good relationships with a wide range of local and national employers.”

Within VSP’s prospects for improvement, inspectors said that learners’ achievement rates are “improving consistently across all partners”

Grant Santos, quality director and nominee for VSP, said: “The learner is at the heart of what we do, we are passionate about helping them gain skills and qualifications whilst earning money.

“To see that Estyn recognises the improvement of learners’ achievement rates is of great importance to us as a consortium – as we look to give those who engage with us the best opportunities to succeed.

“We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished to date, and the positive impact that VSP is having on the individuals that we work with.”

VSP is dedicated to sharing best practice, improving standards across all partners and developing outstanding learning experiences for individuals in Wales.

The consortium has attained 90% learner satisfaction rate across all partners and an IIP Gold across all 4 member organisations and has developed a sector-leading online resource to develop learners’ wellbeing www.mywellbeinghub.co.uk

To see the full Estyn report, visit: https://www.estyn.gov.wales/sites/default/files/documents/Vocational%20Skills%20Partnership.pdf

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Dates for your diary

21 July 2016
Cyflogiaith (Bilingualism@Work) Conference

5-6 October 2016
SkillsCymru, Llandudno

12-13 October 2016
Skills Cymru, Cardiff

20 October 2016
Apprenticeship Awards Cymru

17-19 November 2016
The Skills Show

24 November 2016
NTfW Annual Conference

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Welsh Language/Culture Events

18-21 July 2016
Royal Welsh Agricultural Show (RWAS), Builth Wells

29-31 July 2016
Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly

29 July – 6 August 2016
The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Monmouthshire

For more information on all forthcoming events in Wales, please visit the following website:

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Welsh words for Summer


Yr Awr Gymraeg (The Welsh Hour) Twitter account @yrawrgymraeg see what people are saying and join the conversation #yagym every Wednesday between 8.0-9.0pm.

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