Unique training consortium sharing best practice across Wales

Posted on by karen.smith

An Abercynon based skills consortium, which delivers high quality work-based learning qualifications to around 2,200 learners across Wales, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Vocational Skills Partnership (Wales) Ltd 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 award.

Grant Santos, chief executive of Vocational Skills Partnership (Wales) Ltd with apprentices.

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.

Vocational Skills Partnership (Wales) Ltd is a unique training consortium that works in many disadvantaged communities across Wales.

Established in 2010 to share best practice and make more effective use of funds, the consortium comprises Aspiration Training (Wales) Ltd, Educ8 Ltd, Network Training Services Ltd and TSW Training Ltd.

The partners, who have all achieved the Investors in People GOLD standard and Green Dragon Award, deliver programmes in diverse sectors ranging from childcare and dental nursing to leadership and management and emergency fire service.

The concept of VSP was borne out of the Welsh Government’s desire to transform work-based learning and more than 80 per cent of the partnership’s learning provision is in priority sectors.

As one of the largest Jobs Growth Wales programme contract holders, VSP provides progression opportunities for learners under the age of 25 years into apprenticeship and Young Recruits programmes.

The consortium also engages with learners not in education, employment or training and provides opportunities to progress into further learning or employment. Learners from disadvantaged communities achieve well at 91.4% and account for three quarters of all VSP leavers.

Excellent learner achievement rates on Foundation Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship programmes beat national comparators and the Steps to Employment programme progression rate is above the benchmark.

“These success rates have been achieved as a result of best practice sharing and consortium working to gain a clear consistency of standards across all partners,” said Grant Santos, VSP’s chief executive.

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.

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