NTfW Newsletter – March 2014

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Venue Announced for the NTfW Annual Conference and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru – Friday 31 October 2014 at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport

NTfW Annual Conference
The Conference will allow delegates the opportunity to hear from predominant keynote speakers and attend workshops. The event is also seen as a prime opportunity of networking with individuals and companies across the training sector within Wales. Further information will be sent out as soon as it becomes available.

Apprenticeship Awards Cymru
The Awards aim to 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.

Follow the links to find out more information regarding applying for the Awards and how to become a sponsor.
Application Forms

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Time to get involved, It’s Time to talk Apprenticeships

As Apprenticeship Week in Wales draws to a close, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, has called on employers of all sizes to invest in the future of their workforce by recruiting an apprentice. The call comes as figures from the Welsh Government show just how worthwhile this investment can be, with success rates for apprenticeships in Wales remaining well above 80% and the number of work-based learners at a six year high.

At the It’s Time to Talk Apprenticeships Event in the Vale Resort, Hensol, the Deputy Minister outlined the many benefits that an apprenticeship can offer a business, including reduced training and recruitment costs, increased productivity and a responsive, well-motivated workforce.

The event, which is organised by the Welsh Government and National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and sponsored by Pearson Work Based Learning, brought together all of the key stakeholders involved in the delivery of apprenticeships in Wales.

As well as taking part in interactive debates and table discussions, delegates also heard from speakers from speakers from GE Aviation Wales and Spirit Hair team who explained why apprenticeships had been so beneficial to their businesses.

The Deputy Minister also reminded employers to take advantage of the range of support available from the Welsh Government, including the EU backed Apprenticeship Programme.

For individuals, an apprenticeship is the ideal way to start a successful career, allowing apprentices to earn whilst they learn and gain skills, knowledge and nationally recognised qualifications.

Figures show that this is a highly worthwhile investment for the apprentice and employer alike. In 2011/12, the number of successfully completed apprenticeships rose to 13,230 – maintaining a success rate of above 80%.

Meanwhile, the popularity of apprenticeships in Wales continues, with provisional figures from November showing there were over 61,000 work-based learners in 2012/13 – a 6 year high.

Speaking at the event today, the Deputy Minister said: “As we celebrate Apprenticeship Week, I’m delighted to see that demand for and interest in apprenticeships in Wales is continuing to grow.

“We’re seeing this in our own provisional figures and the unprecedented interest we received in our Young Recruits Programme.

“This represents a real vote of confidence in the unique package of support, qualifications and experience that an Apprenticeship provides – something that is highly valued by employers and individuals alike.

“Apprenticeships make good business sense and I would encourage as many of our employers, no matter what their size, to take a look at the support we provide through our range of Apprenticeship programmes.”

The Deputy Minister also used his speech today to call for applications for Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014 which will be held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport on October 31, 2014.

The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships across Wales.

Arwyn Watkins, the NTfW’s chief executive, said: “The aim of the It’s Time to Talk Apprenticeships Event is to bring together all the key stakeholders involved in the delivery of Apprenticeships in Wales, with a view to raising awareness of their value to business and the wider economy. We hope that it will motivate more employers to become fully engaged in the Apprenticeship Programme.”

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Money for Life Challenge – Wales Finalists Announced

The Wales National Finalists of the Money for Life Challenge have today been announced, and all will take part in a prestigious National Final to be held at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on Tuesday 8 April 2014.

The following five teams have secured a place as Finalists at the National Final, and will compete for the title of Wales National Finals Winners:

  • ARiAN (Apprentice Resources in a Nutshell), Acorn Learning Solutions
  • Cadwyn Money Smart, Cadwyn Housing Association
  • Fashion on a Budget, East Cardiff, Llanedeyrn and Pentwyn (ECLP) Communities First
  • Money Monkeys, ITEC Newport
  • V21 Financial Independence Team, Vision 21 Cyfle Cymru

The team crowned Wales National Finals Winners will go on to compete at the UK Grand Final, which this year is being held at the O2 Arena, on Thursday 15th May. In addition to the prestige of representing Wales, the winning team will receive a donation of £1000 to a charity of their choice, as well as a £50 shopping voucher for each team member.

All the teams above will be presenting their projects to a panel of expert Judges, and the invited audience, before the Judges make their deliberations and decision. This year, the Judging panel is made up of esteemed members which includes, Lee Phillips, Wales Manager for the Money Advice Service and Martin Berisford England National Finals Winners from last year’s Challenge, to name but a few.

In addition to the Finalists, the following teams have been identified as runners up, and have the opportunity to compete for the title of the People’s Prize Winner, along with the Finalists:

  • Bejewelled Glitz, Randomz – The Cwmbran Centre for Young People
  • Broke but Beautiful, Bridgend College
  • Byte Back on a Budget, Bridgend College
  • Educating Others, Coleg Cambria
  • Engage 2 Change (E2C), Monmouthshire County Council
  • The £ Factor, Bridgend College

The team that wins this coveted prize, as it is chosen by the other teams taking part, can also find themselves heading to the UK Grand Final, to compete for the title of UK People’s Prize Winner.

The Money for Life Challenge is a national competition which provides small grants for 16 to 24 year olds to run a project to improve money management skills in their community.

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VQ Day – Wednesday 4 June 2014

We believe that vocational qualifications deserve the same accolades and level of recognition that academic qualifications receive. There are GCSE and A-Level results days so why not a day to celebrate VQs? Hence VQ Day! Read more …

Nominate learners and employers in Wales for a VQ Learner or Employer of the Year award. The deadline for nominations is 2nd May. Download your application form here.

Get Involved – Download the Action Pack and start your preparations for VQ Day on 4th June. It contains lots of advice and guidance on how to go about celebrating, whether you’re a school, college, learning provider or employer.

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Skill Cymru 2014

Following the huge success of SkillsCymru in 2010 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff,where over 20,000 visitors took part in Wales’s biggest-ever interactive careers and skills event, Prospects Events and Cazbah are launching two highly interactive shows with the support of the Welsh Government for 2014.

SkillsCymru is offering the following discount to all members of the National Training Federation for Wales.

  • 10% discount on stands up to 10sqm
  • 15% discount on stands between 10sqm and 20sqm
  • 20% discount on stands over 20sqm

Stand costs start at £270 per sqm for the South Wales event and £200 per sqm for the North Wales event. A further 5% discount will be available those that exhibit at both events. For more information please contact Gabrielle McEvans on 01823 362811 or email gabrielle.mcevans@prospects.co.uk or to see the sales brochure click 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.

2 April 2014 International Children’s Book Day – Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, 2 April, International Children’s Book Day has been celebrated all over the world, aiming to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.

The celebratory day is co-ordinated by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing children and books together. Activities include writing competitions, announcements of book awards and events with authors of children’s literature.

7 April 2014 World Health Day – World Health Day is held to mark the founding of the World Health Organisation in 1948 and is seen as an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health.

The theme for World Health Day 2014 is ‘Small creatures, big threat’. Events will focus on vectors, the small organisms such as mosquitoes, bugs, ticks and freshwater snails, that can carry disease from person to person and place to place

13 April 2014 Vaisakhi (Celebration of the creation of the Khalsa) – Vaisakhi is an ancient harvest festival celebrated across North Indian states. In Sikhism, it is one of the most significant holidays in the Sikh calendar commemorating the establishment of the Khalsa (or ‘Pure Ones’) at Anandpur Sahib in 1699, by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

To mark the celebrations, Sikh devotees generally attend the Gurudwara before dawn with flowers and offerings in hands. Processions through towns are also common.

13 April 2014 Palm Sunday – Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter and marks the beginning of Holy Week. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, about a week before his Resurrection. According to the Gospels Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and the celebrating people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees.

In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves, or the branches of native trees, which are carried in a procession. Any left over branches can be burned and the ashes used in the next year’s Ash Wednesday

15-21 April 2014 Passover – Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, which tells that God helped the Jews escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting 10 plagues upon the Egyptians before the Pharoah agreed to release the Israelite slaves.

The tenth and worst of the plagues was the slaughter of the first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes and spared the Isrealites’ children.

Today, Passover is celebrated for seven or eight days and various rituals are observed. People eat unleavened bread called Matzah. This is because when the slaves fled from Egypt, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise so ate flat bread on their journey. Some people clean their house very thoroughly to make sure no crumbs of leavened bread are still there. On the evening before Passover begins, families eat a special meal called a seder, made up of traditional foods.

18 April 2014 Good Friday – Good Friday is a religious holiday observed by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. It is a day of mourning, and in some traditions there are processions and re-enactments of the events of Good Friday. Christians around the world reflect on the suffering Jesus endured, and its meaning for them and their faith.

20 Apri 2014 Easter Sunday – Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter marks the end of Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

There are many customs associated with Easter around the world. Eggs play a key role, symbolising the stone that rolled away from Jesus’ tomb – people decorate eggs, hunt for hidden eggs, roll eggs down steep hills and eat chocolate eggs. In Germany and the US the Easter Bunny delivers decorated or chocolate eggs to children the night before Easter.

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A new nail cutting and care qualification for learners in Wales

A new nail cutting and care qualification will enable more people in the community to access the help they need with routine nail cutting and care, according to Agored Cymru, the only awarding organisation dedicated to developing qualifications and credits to meet the needs of learners in Wales.

The new Level 2 Award in Nail Cutting and Care (QCF) is designed to provide learners with the healthcare knowledge and necessary skills to deliver routine nail care. It is not intended to replace podiatry services or manicure and pedicure qualifications.

Curriculum Development Manager, Sue Saunders, at Agored Cymru said, “The evidence shows that there is a critical need to provide a high quality nail cutting and care service to people in the community who need some extra help in looking after themselves.

Nail cutting services are a priority in Wales. For some people with learning or physical disabilities, sensory loss, mental illness or orthopaedic conditions, carrying out routine day-to-day nail care is a real challenge.

We are delighted to have worked with Skills for Health to develop this new qualification to ensure that learners can now be trained to carry out a much needed service.”

The new qualification is suitable for a wide range of learners who are over the age of eighteen and want to develop and extend their skills, They may be support workers already working in healthcare settings, beauty therapists wishing to extend their skills, or new entrants to the sector who want to work as independent practitioners. Individuals who have already achieved Agored Cymru QALL units in foot care can also apply to use recognition of prior learning processes against parts of the new qualification.

The qualification is only available through Agored Cymru recognised centres and has been formally approved by Skills for Health and mapped to national occupational standards.

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News from the Regions

Three Stars Shine over Educ8: Best Companies 2014

Educ8 Ltd has just been awarded three star status by the prestigious workplace engagement specialists, Best Companies.

Three stars is the highest possible level of accreditation available and indicates ‘extraordinary’ levels of engagement with employees. The company’s results (which are based primarily on an objective staff survey managed by Best Companies) were so impressive that Educ8 has also been shortlisted as a Times Top 100 Small Company. The company’s official ranking on the Times Top 100 list will be announced at an awards dinner in London on 26th February.

This is the first year that Educ8 has participated in the Best Companies process so to achieve the full three stars is an outstanding commendation and a reflection of the commitment and investment that has gone in to developing a workplace culture that provides employees with job enrichment, motivation and opportunities for progression.

Colin Tucker, CEO at Educ8 explains: “Best Companies accreditation measures the extent to which employees feel personally involved with their organisation. Both Grant Santos, my fellow director, and I, are delighted and extremely proud that Educ8 has developed a workplace environment that provides staff with such extensive levels of job satisfaction. We are a valleys-based company and try our best to recruit and develop local people and provide them with opportunities to progress in their careers.
As a provider of vocational qualifications and a major Jobs Growth Wales contractor providing opportunities for young people, Educ8 makes a difference to peoples’ lives on a daily basis. We couldn’t do this without the continued support and dedication of our fantastic workforce, and that’s why we recognise the importance of giving something back to them.”

Educ8 had already achieved Investors in People GOLD status (back in 2012) but the Best Companies survey is a more comprehensive assessment of employees’ thoughts and feelings. It addresses eight principle factors: the company; leadership; wellbeing; personal growth; fair dealing; employees’ feelings towards their managers; employees’ feelings towards their teams; and what the company gives back to society.

Since its inception in 2004 and with the backing of Finance Wales, Educ8 has experienced significant growth. The company is always looking to expand it’s talent pool and encourages prospective employees to send in speculative CVs and covering letters via their HR department.

A debt investment from Finance Wales in 2009 provided the capital Educ8 needed to expand. Welcoming Educ8’s announcement, David Perez, Senior Portfolio Executive at Finance Wales said: “Best Companies accreditation is highly regarded. Educ8 has invested heavily in its workplace culture, so achieving 3 Star status, which is the highest level awarded, is a significant endorsement for the company. An effective workplace culture has boosted staff commitment and motivation, enabling Educ8 to build a strong reputation.

“Finance Wales is pleased to have backed Colin and his team. They’ve combined long-term vision and values with an ambitious business plan to turn Educ8 into the high-quality training provider it is today. We wish them well when their place in the Top 100 is announced later this month.”

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Caerphilly Council worker’s new confidence after learning to read and write

A bin lorry driver who spent 20 years hiding his illiteracy from council bosses has learnt to read and write.

Caerphilly County Borough Council worker Thomas Hearne successfully completed a workplace skills scheme carried out by Talk Training.

A former military man, Thomas has worked for Caerphilly County Borough Council for more than 20 years. In that time he became skilled at avoiding paperwork and tasks which required him to read or write extensive documents.

Thomas was joined by four of his colleagues from the refuse team who also worked towards completing the course provided by the National Training Federation Wales.

The employees were presented with their certificates of achievement in a special ceremony by the Deputy Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough Council Cllr David Carter.

Thomas, 52 and from Llanbradach, said: “I felt so at ease when I met my tutor for the first time, not once did I feel small or humiliated as I had done in the past. What I learned in a matter of weeks was truly amazing and I just wish that I had has this opportunity years ago. It is thanks to the support of my manager and tutors that I am able to go forward in both in my professional and personal life.”

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New CEO at Vocational Skills Partnership (Wales) Ltd

Vocational Skills Partnership (Wales) Ltd, otherwise known as VSP, is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Mark Brenner to the role of Chief Executive Officer.

The CEO role is the latest appointment to the four-partner vocational training consortium which was established in 2010.
As one of only twenty-three work-based learning contract holders in Wales, RCT based VSP is made up of the following four partners, each of which owns a 25% share in the VSP business: Aspiration Training (Wales) Ltd, Educ8 Ltd, Network Training Services Ltd and TSW Training Ltd.

With an impressive qualification portfolio spanning across 16 occupational routes and with over 2,500 learners, VSP has already enjoyed a range of successes since its inception, including; all four partners achieving Investors in People GOLD status, securing a significant Jobs Growth Wales contract, outstanding results in an independent learner survey and acknowledgement of sector-leading practice by Estyn with the development of the Wellbeing Hub- a unique online learner wellbeing resource that was developed in conjunction with Acorn and Babcock.

Grant Santos, Director at Educ8 Ltd and former CEO of VSP says: “After a rigorous selection process Mark emerged as the outstanding candidate to be the CEO of VSP. He brings a great depth of knowledge and experience of the skills agenda and I’m happy to welcome him on board on behalf of the entire team at VSP.”
Dr Mark Brenner, formerly CEO of BEST says: “I’m glad to be joining VSP at a time of both opportunity and challenge and I’m keen to help establish the organisation as a key provider to the Welsh skills economy in the years ahead.”

Mark will take up his new post with immediate effect.

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Training Praised By World Schools Guru

A Welsh education model designed to support young people excluded from mainstream classes has the potential to become a blueprint for others worldwide after attracting the attention of international authority on education reform, Sir Michael Barber. Read more …

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University plays host to Young Leaders launch event

The University of South Wales played host to the launch of this year’s Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Heads of the Valleys Young Leaders programme, delivered by Acorn in colleges at Merthyr Tydfil and Ebbw Vale.

The ILM is a highly regarded management body in the UK who pride themselves on developing great leaders who ultimately go on to transform people and organisations. The launch event held on the Treforest Campus provided an opportunity for college learners to visit the University and receive an initial introduction to the ILM qualification and the value of developing leadership

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Workmates and friends help Katy raise £553 for cancer charity

Workmates and friends of Cambrian Training Company’s marketing manager Katy Godsell dug deep into their pockets over the festive season to raise £553 for the Lingen Davies Cancer Fund at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Katy, who works at the award-winning training company’s Welshpool headquarters, has recently completed treatment for breast cancer. Because the lives of several workmates have also been touched by cancer in recent years, there was no shortage of support for the charity.

The money was raised by making and selling handmade Christmas decorations, Christmas wishes instead of cards, an auction of a beautiful crocheted blanket made by Norma Thomas, a raffle, quiz and a staff fancy dress day. Sharon Thomas, manager of Mid Wales Homecare, also made and sold Christmas decorations to support fundraising.
“Special thanks go to Norma and Sharon Thomas and Joyce Godsell for all their hard work making decorations, Joyce for her time and dedication organising and co-ordinating the activities and to all staff for their kind donations,” said Katy.

“We decided to raise money for Lingen Davies Cancer Fund as cancer has hit so many staff, family and friends over the last couple of years. We wanted to support this charity because it supports local cancer patients across Mid Wales and Shropshire, as we have seen the benefits first hand and the difference that they make.”

Fundraising for the charity doesn’t stop there, however. Katy is hoping to receive support from Barclays Bank to hold a five kilometre run or walk in Welshpool on a date to be confirmed March.

Lingen Davies Cancer Fund is committed to improving cancer services for the relief of cancer patients in Shropshire and Mid Wales, through the provision of specialist equipment and buildings. Over the years the charity has invested millions to improve the facilities for local cancer patients.

Louise Cliffe, the charity’s fundraising manager, thanked everybody who had helped to raise the “fantastic” sum of money which would help achieve the fund’s £12,000 Christmas appeal.

The appeal aims to make improvements to the radiotherapy department waiting area at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, to install a ceiling hoist to help patients onto the treatment bed and to buy a safety device that measures a patient’s radiotherapy dosage.

“We fund all sorts of things across Shropshire and Mid Wales that improve the environment in which cancer patients are treated,” added Louise.

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Cwmni Prentis Menai

Grŵp Llandrillo Menai has set-up an Apprentice Employment Agency Company – Cwmni Prentis Menai Cyf, as a vehicle to increase the number of construction and engineering apprentices in North West Wales in response to the “Energy Island” skills development initiative.

The with host companies to undertake their workplace agency employs apprentices and then places them experience. The host company contributes to the wage cost of the apprenticeship but at a heavily subsidised rate which, we hope, will encourage more businesses in the region to participate in the scheme.

The strategic plan of the agency is to develop a pool of local young people with all the skills required for the future, with specific emphasis on the proposed Nuclear New Build.

Financial Support for the agency has been provided by a number of key stakeholders including Horizon, Gwynedd County Council, Isle of Anglesey County Council, Conwy County Council and the Welsh Government. This funding enables the host company to engage with the apprenticeship scheme at reduced employment costs.

The company has just successfully graduated its first full cohort of employees. The first group of 11 engineers were employed in September 2010 with host companies in Gwynedd and Ynys Mon. At the end of August 2013 10 apprentices completed their qualification framework and all have successfully gained employment. The company celebrated the success of the young apprentices at its board meeting in October with Chair Dr John Idris Jones, Director of Energy Island Programme and Mark Tippett, Horizon presenting the apprentices with a completion certificate.

The agency has continued to grow since its first year and now employs 54 apprentices placed with companies across Gwynedd, Ynys Môn and Conwy.

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Vion Redundancies

Back in early January 2013, Welsh Country Foods (part of the Vion Group) announced a 90 day consultation period with trade unions and employees over the potential closure of its lamb processing plant on Anglesey, putting at risk the jobs of over 350 workers.

At this time, 32 learners were on Apprenticeship programmes with ADT, mainly following Level 2 frameworks in Food Industry Skills or Meat & Poultry Industry Skills. Many of the learners had only been on programme for a relatively short period of time, ranging from 18 weeks through to 39 weeks.

Following agreement with local management, ADT ‘fast tracked’ the learners by increasing the frequency of visits to a weekly basis & providing significant additional support. The result of this intensive activity was that every one of the 32 learners achieved at least a full NVQ at the time of the plant actually closing in mid April 2013, significantly enhancing their prospects of future employment. Indeed, many of the learners have gone on to work in other meat processing plants since being made redundant.

For those learners that were further into their framework programme at the start of the consultation period, additional sessions were held at ADT’s premises to complete the technical certificate and essential skills elements of the framework. For some, these sessions carried on after redundancy so that the framework could be achieved.

In addition, for a number of the learners, ADT Assessors assisted learners to prepare their CV’s from records of achievement and provided advice and guidance, including interview coaching techniques.

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Dates for your diary

27 March 2014
The Real Conversation – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Click here for more information

8 April 2014
Money for Life Challenge National Final – Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff
Click here for more information

4 June 2014
VQ Day
Click here for more information
Download application forms
Download Action Pack

9 October 2014
Skills Cymru – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Click here for more information

22-23 October 2014
Skills Cymru – Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Click here for more information

31 October 2014
National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) Annual Conference
Celtic Manor Resort, Newport
Click here for more information

31 October 2014
Apprenticeship Awards Cymru – Celtic Manor Resort, Newport
Application Forms
Sponsorship Packages

13-15 November 2014
The Skills Show – NEC Birmingham
Click here for more information

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