Skills consortium shortlisted for two national awards
A skills consortium for Mid and North Wales has been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards.
Coleg Cambria (Mid and North Wales Skills Consortium) is one of 36 finalists in 13 categories of the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2013, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).
The consortium is shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Provider of the Year accolade and the Provider Award for Social Responsiveness.
The awards recognise the outstanding achievements of learners, employers and providers involved in the delivery of quality apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes across Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.
The winners will be announced at a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Friday, October 18.
Formed in 2010, Coleg Cambria (Mid and North Wales Skills Consortium) provides learning programmes to around 1,000 learners and works with around 500 employers including large companies, such as JCB and Kelloggs.
Comprising Coleg Cambria, Wrexham ITeC, Nacro, Myrick Training Services and Glyndwr University, the consortium covers North and Mid Wales and delivers programmes to occupational sectors including business, administration and law, engineering and construction, health, public services and care.
The consortium’s partners, together with the employers they work with, have won a series of national awards for work-based learning and sharing best practice in recent years.
Driven by a ‘Strategy for Success’, the consortium services a Welsh Government contract valued at £3.2 million, with around three quarters of learners undertaking apprenticeships, while others are involved in employability traineeship programmes.
Framework success rates of 90 per cent exceed the national comparator and around half of the learners are aged between 16 and 24.
The consortium is also actively promoting learning programmes through the Welsh language.
“The consortium’s development of Welsh language responds to a real need,” said Wynne Roberts, head of work-based learning at the new Coleg Cambria. “Ten per cent of the region’s population speaks fluent Welsh, five Welsh medium/bilingual high schools are in catchment, but provision for Welsh language work based learning has been low.
“In 2012, Welsh Government revealed only 354 of 90,477 funded apprenticeships were undertaken through the medium of Welsh.”
The consortium is now working on a remedy. All of the current 131 fluent Welsh speaking learners have been identified and personally contacted, offering them the choice of following their work-based learning programmes through the medium of Welsh.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said: “The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru remind us of the incredible wealth of talent that Wales has to offer and the outstanding achievements of Wales’ learners, employers and learning providers.
“Apprenticeships play an integral role in our economy. Not only do they provide essential skills and qualifications, but are in themselves life-changing opportunities for young people and, for employers, a major investment that’s paying real dividend to their bottom line and in the skills of their workforce.
“We know that apprenticeships deliver real business benefits and that’s why the Welsh Government, with support from the European Social Fund, continues to invest heavily in opportunities for young people to take up apprenticeships and continues to support employers who want to invest in the future of their workforce.
“Through their passion and dedication, the finalists announced at this year’s awards will inspire countless others to strive for excellence and demonstrate the tremendous impact that vocational training can have. I wish all of our finalists the very best as they continue to make great contributions in their chosen fields.”
Showcasing excellence in skills development in Wales, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC with support from media partner, Media Wales.
More than 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high profile awards ceremony, where guests will dine out with chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team.