NTfW Newsletter – June 2015

Posted on by karen.smith

Apprenticeship Awards Cymru – Deadline is 12noon Friday 26 June 2015

The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru recognise and celebrate employers, learners and providers who commit to developing their workforce through Apprenticeships and supporting their employees during their training.

The awards are also a great way to evaluate training and development, as well as a fantastic motivational factor for any workforce or learner. With the aim of celebrating success, it is expected that the event will be attended by over 400 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales.

Please remember to submit your entries before 12noon on Friday 26 June 2015. for more information and to complete your application form.

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Talented carpenter and inspirational nurseries owner win VQ Awards

A carpenter from the WorldSkills Squad UK and the inspirational owner of three children’s nurseries were celebrating after winning the main Vocational Qualifications (VQ) Awards in Wales.

Former Coleg Sir Gâr learner Simon McCall, 21, from Capel Dewi, near Carmarthen, a European silver medallist who had made it through to the WorldSkills Squad UK earlier this year, was named VQ Learner of the Year.

Jenine Gill, who employs 55 staff at Little Inspirations children’s nurseries in Llantrisant, Rhydyfelin and Barry, was named VQ Employer of the Year at the awards ceremony held at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.

The VQ Awards, which celebrate the achievements of both learners and employers across Wales, were held on the eve of VQ Day across the UK.
Read more …

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Deputy Minister appeals for help to raise profile of vocational qualifications

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, has appealed to the “vocational community” in Wales to take on an evangelical role to make the vocational route to a successful career as high profile as the academic pathway through university.

“If university is not for you, then a credible alternative is there, but often it is too hard to find the advice, too hard to find how to apply and too hard to find what opportunities are available,” she told guests attending the Vocational Qualifications (VQ) Awards in Wales at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.

“Together we must find a better way to advertise to young people and adults the vocational and practical learning opportunities available to them.

“Vocational qualifications are the foundation of a successful career and many of the country’s high profile senior manager and entrepreneurs, such as Sir Terry Matthews, have progressed through the vocational route.”

She said skills were more important than ever and shrinking budgets meant that the Welsh Government and co-investing employers would have to share responsibility for funding training at current levels. Some employers were already reaping the rewards of investing in vocational qualifications.

She quoted studies that showed that the average apprentice increases productivity by £214 a week, yet only 13 per cent of businesses in Wales offer formal apprenticeships, compared to 15 per cent in the UK.

A total of 29 per cent of Wales’ employers planned to offer formal apprenticeships in the future and 90 per cent of those that had funded training in the past year said vocational qualifications helped staff do their job better. 86 per cent said the qualifications led directly to better business performance.

“Employer engagement is critical in creating the right conditions for businesses in Wales to grow and flourish,” she added. “Our single access point provided by the Skills Gateway streamlines how employers and individual access the employment, skills and advice support available to them.

“In January, I announced £2.4 million for the Flexible Skills Programme, which will target support to businesses in Wales by developing flexible, industry-led skill solutions where provision does not already exist.

“A new Skills Priority Programme will also support employers in developing skills provision which is responsive to their needs. The Welsh Government will continue to support young people to improve their skills and life choices.

“Joining training and employability programmes will help create seamless progression paths. I am convinced that if we continue to highlight the opportunities available and the tangible benefits of vocational qualifications, individuals in Wales will continue to impress us by their sheer talent, motivation and commitment.”

Both Peter Rees, National Training Federation for Wales chairman and Judith Evans, CollegesWales chairman, welcomed the Deputy Minister’s focus on promoting vocational qualifications so that all learners were aware of the options available to them.

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Four Welsh Youngsters Named in Team UK for WorldSkills Brazil 2015

Four of Wales’ most talented apprentices and learners have been given a coveted place in the team which will represent the UK at WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 this summer.

WorldSkills is the largest international skills competition in the world. Held every two years, the competition sees around 1,000 young people, aged 18-25, from all over the world come together to compete for medals in more than 40 different skills including Electrical Installation, Welding, Web Design, Cooking and Bricklaying.

The four Welsh youngsters – hairdresser Eleni Constantinou, 21, from Caerphilly, auto technician Elijah Sumner, 20, from Cardiff Bay, Industrial Control student Luke Elsmore, 20, from Blackwood, and carpentry student Owain Jones, 21, from Blaenau Ffestiniog – have been named among just 41 members of Team UK who will travel to Brazil this summer for the WorldSkills final.

All four were selected following a week of intense competition, after having been shortlisted for Squad UK, following 11 months training in their skill supported by their training provider, college, employer and a dedicated training manager.

Eleni Constantinou, 21, from Caerphilly who is competing in Hairdressing said:
“I’m so thrilled to be going to WorldSkills São Paulo in Brazil. No matter how well I do in the competition I think just getting to Brazil will a great experience in itself. That said, I’m really looking forward to it as this is when the competition really starts in my eyes. As much as I want to do well for myself I also want to win for my family, who are all hairdressers themselves and have done a lot to help me get where I am today.”

Elijah Sumner, 20 a competitor in the Auto Tech category from Cardiff Bay said he was thrilled to have been selected:
“It’s still pretty surreal. It’s hard to believe that I’ll be travelling to Brazil to represent the whole of the UK. I really hope this inspires other young people to participate in something like this, as it’s a great opportunity and it’s been a great experience so far.”

Luke Elsmore, 20, from Blackwood who is competing in the Industrial Control category said:
“I’m really looking forward to the competition. It’s great to be given the opportunity to prove myself on a world stage. I’m also honoured to be representing Wales and the UK, and that people feel that I’m capable of competing at such a high level.”

Owain Jones, 21, from Blaenau Ffestiniog – a competitor in the Carpentry category will also be travelling to Brazil in August said:
“I’m really excited and I’m looking forward to going to São Paulo, even though there’s going to be a lot of hard work involved. I have to be at the top of my game – I’ve been competing since the beginning of college to get to this level, and now I’ll be competing on a world stage so it’s all been leading up to this.”

First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: “Huge congratulations to the four finalists. I am thrilled that Welsh competitors are making up ten per cent of Squad UK and that Eleni, Elijah, Luke and Owain will be going to Brazil this summer to represent Wales on a global stage.
“This really is a fantastic achievement. All four have shown that they are exceptionally talented with highly developed skills of which they should be very proud.”

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated the four competitors on their selection:
“By encouraging young people to take part in competitions like WorldSkills and compete against the best, not only in the UK but across the globe, we are able to share best practice in Apprenticeships and vocational teaching, and help to encourage other young people across Wales to aim for these high standards.
“I wish all four the very best for their trip to Brazil and very much hope that they will be bringing medals home for Wales.”

Barry Liles, WorldSkills Champion for Wales and Board Member of Find A Future, which manages the UK’s entry into the WorldSkills Competition said: “It is with great pride and pleasure that I offer my congratulations to these four young people who have earned a place in Team UK.

“Skills competitions showcase the high levels of performance that can be achieved by individuals and organisations through high quality further education, skills training and Apprenticeships.

“As we continue with a passion to drive up engagement in vocational skills competitions, we will achieve our goal of raising standards and skill levels, ultimately impacting upon the economy of Wales.”

By participating in the WorldSkills Competition, the UK is able to share best practise in Apprenticeships and vocational teaching, driving excellence in workplace skills. Research shows that taking part can excel a young person’s career, with past competitors stating that after they have competed they are at least five years ahead of their peers in terms of skills, knowledge and maturity.

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Claire wins overall Inspire! Award after helping community back into education

A Pembrokeshire mum-of-three who helped adults in her community get back into education has been crowned overall winner at a major learning award ceremony.

Claire Arnold was presented with the Learner of the Year award for Wales at the Inspire! Awards as part of Adult Learners’ Week 2015.

The 39-year-old, who left school at age 15 with no qualifications, went on to set up a community-based degree course for people in one of the most deprived areas of Wales.

Adult Learners’ Week runs from June 13 to 19 and celebrates lifelong learning, whether work-based, as part of a community education course, at college, university or online.
Now in its 24th year, it aims to promote the range of courses available to adult learners, from languages to computing and childcare to finance.

The Inspire! Awards are hosted each year ahead of Adult Learners’ Week to celebrate the achievements of outstanding learners in Wales who have shown exceptional passion, commitment and drive for learning, often in the face of difficult circumstances.

“I struggled at school, I was never a high flyer,” said Claire, who also won the Learning Progression award. “I wanted to be a teacher. I was always making work sheets for my class mates on wet weather days. But I never thought I was good enough.”

Claire, who lives in St Twynnells in Pembroke, found work at an old people’s home, spending the next few years working as a care assistant.

“It wasn’t what I wanted to do but I’d messed around at secondary school and didn’t think there was any way of me following my ambition to be a teacher,” said Claire, who lives with husband Matthew and daughter Cara, 17; son Euan, 14, and daughter Amelia, three.

Ten years after leaving school, Claire found out about a learning support assistant job at her former primary school, Monkton Community Primary.

“I got the job and I loved it,” she said. “I loved working with children and found education had changed so much. I watched the teachers and learned from them and thought, maybe I can do that.”

Claire’s head teacher suggested she enrol on a new project set up to provide adult education in the community and, along with 15 others, she completed a Foundation Degree for Learning Support Assistants.

“We were travelling to the University of Wales Trinity St David, an hour away, and I realised it meant not everybody could have access to education,” she said. “So when more funding became available, I asked whether there was anything that could be done to help those who wanted to learn but struggled with childcare and transport.”

Claire, who has worked closely with the area’s gypsy families, arranged for a maths GCSE course to be run at Monkton Community Primary with Learning Pembrokeshire.

“It started at 5pm and we had a kids’ club, which meant childcare wasn’t an issue,” said Claire. “The year after, we started doing GCSE English, and science the year after that.”

Claire, who had by then also completed a BA Joint Honours Degree in Education and Social Inclusion, also arranged, with the school’s head Shelley Morris, for the University of Wales Trinity St David to run the same degrees at the school in Monkton.

While helping others, she was completing her own degree while living out of a static caravan with no internet access.

“We were building a house so we lived in the caravan for four years,” she said.
“I used to go to my sister-in-law’s every night to use their computer when the children were in bed.”

“I stay in touch with what’s going on at the degree courses at Monkton,” added Claire, who is now preparing to graduate with a teaching degree, in Primary Education with QTS.
“We have all ages and I’m really proud of what the scheme has achieved – it has around 20 students a year. I never want to stop learning. It’s never too late to learn.”

Adult Learners’ Week is organised by NIACE Cymru with the support of the Welsh Government and European Social Fund.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, said: “Adult Learners’ Week gives everybody the opportunity to learn something new, whether you learn from home, in the workplace or in your local community.

“The Inspire! Awards recognise the people who have taken that step, and their examples should encourage anybody who thinks it’s either too late or too difficult to learn a new skill.

“We hope Adult Learners’ Week will encourage adults across Wales to find out more about their skills and career options by going along to events in their area. Adults can also access the Skills Gateway to get careers advice and guidance, whether they want to improve their skills and employability or get back into work.”

Cerys Furlong, Director of NIACE Cymru, said: “The Inspire! Awards remind us of the power of learning and every story is a testament to the hard work of the learners and the tutors. “Each winner has come such a long way and shown real determination and passion for learning and we wish each one every success for the future. Everyone can get involved with Adult Learners’ Week by joining a free learners’ event in their area on anything from first aid to digital photography.”

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Fantastic New Language Awareness Video

Welsh Government and IAITH (Welsh Centre for Language Planning) has recently updated its ‘Ein Hiaith: Our Language’ Language Awareness video to make it more suitable for the post-16 Education sector. Lisa Lloyd from Aspiration Training (part of Vocational Skills Partnership (VSP) Wales) is part of this new video, which is entitled ‘20 Llais: 20 Voices’ is now available and can be found here.

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ESDGC – Global Citizenship

The events listed below are celebrations and awareness days; each of the events includes details of websites and support materials to help plan activities for learners.

dharma-day2 July 2015 Dharma Day – Find out more about Dharma Day, one of the most important dates in the Buddhist calendar.

nelson-mandela-day18 July 2015 Mandela Day – Mandela Day aims to honour the legacy of South Africa’s former president and to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better.

Follow the link below to more resources to support learning related to celebrations, awareness days and action weeks throughout the year. http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/resources/r/resourcecalendar/april.asp

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Skills Cymru – Meet the Team

Join the SkillsCymru team at either of the Meet the Team events for an informal chat over coffee and pastries. Pop in for 10 minutes or stay for an hour visit them between 8.30-10.30am at the following venues:

  • Tuesday 14 July 2015 at The Village Hotel, Cardiff
  • Wednesday 15 July 205 at Venue Cymru Llandudno

RSVP by Wednesday 8 July to book your place.
Natasha Messer 01823 362800
Email: Natasha.Messer@prospects.co.uk

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News from the Regions
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Former Operations Director for Acorn’s Training Division awarded MBE

Barbara Poole, Acorn’s Former Operations Director has been awarded an MBE as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of her services to work-based learning in Wales.

Barbara, from Caerphilly, retired last year after spending ten years as Operations Director of Acorn’s Training Division. She was instrumental in developing learning programmes in Wales which provided hundreds of individuals with an alternative to traditional roles allowing them to learn on the job, gaining valuable experience in the process.

Prior to her role at Acorn, Barbara began her career in Training in 1984 with a UK National Training Provider. She carried out a variety of roles throughout England and Wales, before becoming a Director in 2000.

In recent years, Barbara was made Vice Chair of the National Training Federation for Wales in the South East region. She was also a Board Director for the National Training Federation for Wales, and represented the Training Provider network in Wales on the Welsh Assembly Government Education for Sustainability and Global Citizenship before retiring last summer.

Barbara, said: “I’m extremely honoured to be awarded an MBE, it highlights the importance of work-based learning in Wales and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work in this arena with Acorn representing the provider network.”

She added: “It’s not just a reward for me, but a reward for all the hard working staff across Acorn’s Training Division.”

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Top Apprentices Awarded by Deputy Minister at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Consortium Work-based Learning Awards ceremony

Over 100 guests attended Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Consortium Work-based Learning Awards ceremony at Coleg Llandrillo’s Orme View Conference Centre, with the best apprentices from across North Wales receiving their awards from the Deputy Minister for Skills & Technology.

The ceremony was a celebration of the achievement of outstanding work-based learners who have successfully juggled the demands of work and study to achieve their framework of training and qualifications. This year’s ceremony included the presentation of the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award in conjunction with consortium partners Arfon Dwyfor Training (ADT) and North Wales Training.

The celebratory event was hosted by Dafydd Evans, Principal of Coleg Llandrillo, and the guest of honour was Julie James AM, Deputy Minister for Skills & Technology.

The highlight of the event saw a Wind Turbine apprentice beat off competition from nearly 3,000 apprentices to win the coveted ‘Apprentice of the Year 2015’ award. The three members of the work-based learning (WBL) consortium, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, North Wales Training and Arfon Dwyfor Training, nominated one learner each for the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award, and Coleg Llandrillo’s 21-year-old Llewelyn Edwards from Llangollen, was presented with the ceremony’s most prestigious award. Read more …

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University of Wales Trinity St David – Preferred bidder for new construction training initiative

A consortium led by The University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD) is the preferred bidder to develop a new approach to training for the construction industry in Wales, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) announced.

CITB Cymru Wales published plans in March to invest up to £5m in a new scheme. A number of quality bids were received with the UWTSD led consortium achieving the highest score in the bidding process.

UWTSD will now work with CITB on the details of the initiative, which will deliver training to meet construction employer needs throughout Wales.
Supporting partners of the UWTSD consortium include, Building Research Establishment (BRE), Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) , City & County of Swansea Council, Coleg Cambria, Coleg Ceredigion, Coleg Sir Gâr, Coleg y Cymoedd, Cyfle Building Skills, Tidal Lagoon Power ltd.

CITB Cymru Wales Strategic Partnerships Director, Mark Bodger, said:
“We forecast annual growth of 3.4% in construction in Wales over the next five years and recognise there are gaps in construction training provision across the Nation. The time is right to respond to industry needs and work in collaboration to develop a training model which is fit for purpose and adapts to the ever changing needs of the Industry.

“Following the CITB Board meeting in Cardiff last week where members considered the outcome of the process to date , we will over the coming months, work with the UWTSD led consortium to scope out and develop our plans and I look forward to setting out the details of the programme later this year.’

Kathryn David, Director of Commercial Services at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, said:
“We look forward to working with the CITB and partners across Wales on this exciting new initiative, which will offer training opportunities for individuals and construction companies throughout Wales. We will work closely with our college partners to support the learning and development needs of the construction sector.”

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Young UK competition winners from Newport award £3500 to charity

The Welsh winners of a UK-wide money management competition have awarded £3,500 to local charity, The Brightside Trust. The team of eight young people from Newport, all aged 17-23, claimed top honours at the prestigious Money for Life Challenge 2015, organised by Lloyds Banking Group.

Money for Life is a national competition to inspire better money management skills in local communities across the UK. As winners, the team named DOSH (Defining Our Spending Habits) were awarded the prize money from Lloyds Banking Group to donate to a charity of their choice.

DOSH, who are currently enrolled in education programmes with Acorn Learning Solutions, presented The Brightside Trust, an online mentoring charity for young people, with their winning cheque of £3500 on 18th June at Somerton House, Newport.

Susanne Maskrey, Deputy Chief Executive of The Brightside Trust, said:
“We are extremely grateful for DOSH’s donation to The Brightside Trust. It’s great to see young people supporting their peers to develop money management skills. At The Brightside Trust, we want to open up access to education and career opportunities and this donation will help us support more young people in the community”.

Amy Louise Follett from DOSH stated, “Our project gave us the confidence to meet new people and develop new skills, whilst learning how to manage our money and make a positive impact in our community. We are thrilled to make more of a contribution with our prize money for such a worthwhile cause.”

DOSH ran a money management project in their community earlier in the year to show prospective university students how to manage their money through proper budgeting. DOSH delivered their project over a three month period supported by Money for Life partners CollegesWales and Youth Cymru. More than 340 teams across the UK took part in this year’s competition.

David Rowsell, Head of the Money for Life Programme at Lloyds Banking Group said: “The Money for Life Challenge enables young people throughout the UK to learn and share practical money management skills by delivering a project of their choice to benefit their chosen community. I have been consistently impressed by the passion, innovation and dedication of this year’s teams, and have been inspired by the support and enthusiasm shown by their communities.”

Rachel Dodge, project manager from CollegesWales said, “I’m very proud of team DOSH. They have learnt a lot throughout the Money for Life Challenge and we are pleased they are able to support The Brightside Trust which helps young people access opportunities for a better future”.

DOSH, and 50 other teams who were shortlisted to the national finals of the Challenge, now have the chance to bid for one of 10 £1,000 Legacy grants, enabling them to continue the great work they’ve started in their communities.

The Money for Life Challenge is delivered by Lloyds Banking Group in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, UK Youth, CollegesWales, Youth Cymru, Young Scot and the NOW Group. The Money for Life programme is part of the Group’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan, and commits to accrediting 4,000 community support workers by 2017 to deliver financial education on the front line.

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Dates for your diary

7 – 8 October 2015
Skills Cymru – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Email: gabrielle.mcevans@prospects.co.uk for more information

21 – 22 October 2015
Skills Cymru – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Email: gabrielle.mcevans@prospects.co.uk for more information

29 October 2015
NTfW Annual Conference – Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport
Email: karen.smith@ntfw.org for more information

29 October 2015
Apprenticeship Awards Cymru – Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport
Click here for more information

19 – 21 November 2015
The Skills Show – NEC Birmingham
Click here for more information

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Welsh Language/Culture

27 June -3 July 2015
Tafwyl Week, Cardiff
Click here for further information

4-5 July 2015
Tafwyl Fair
Click here for further information

20-23 July 2015
Royal Welsh Agricultural Show (RWAS), Builth Wells
Click here for further information

24-26 July 2015
Big Cheese Festival, Caerphilly
Click here for further information

1-8 August 2015
The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Montgomeryshire
Click here for further information

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

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