Mar 2014 / Learners

Young apprentices came face to face with leading politicians and key employers in Wales at a special ‘Employ Me’ event held during National Apprenticeship Week 

Trainees from across South Wales met with Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, and corporate representatives from firms including Barclays and British Gas at an event organised by Wales’ largest training provider, ACT Training.

Those present looked at how individual skill sets can best be matched with the needs of businesses at the event, held after a newly launched 10-year Skills Strategy for Wales called for a specific focus on employer engagement in order to foster greater levels of ’employability’ within the workforce.

Students based at ACT learning centres across South Wales came to Cardiff’s Ocean Park centre to talk about issues they might face in developing attractive workplace skills, and in turn find out what employers look for in a winning candidate too.

Lynda Campbell, Regional Director for Wales, British Gas said, “British Gas was delighted to support today’s event. With more than 1,300 people at our site in Callaghan Square, we are keen to recruit young people with the right skills and attitudes to provide excellent customer service.” 

“We met some really fantastic learners today and we looking forward to helping young people like them find out about the jobs and training British Gas can offer.”

Trainees and apprentices came from Cardiff, Bridgend and Caerphilly to also take part in a variety of team-building and body-language workshops with each employer during the event, as well as more mainstream mock-interview sessions.

ACT has developed centres across Wales that offer a range of training opportunities including traineeships, apprenticeships and essential skills since it was established 25 years ago.

Its mission as an organisation is to make a positive difference to people’s lives by providing outstanding learning opportunities, and its schemes are available to support continuous professional development, as well as to those looking to make their first steps onto the career ladder.

ACT Managing Director Andrew Cooksley said events like the Employ Me day and National Apprenticeship Week as a whole formed a vital part of this work, and welcomed the opportunity to contribute to ongoing discussions surrounding the increasing value vocational training holds.

Andrew said: “Due to changes in our university system, and a perceived spurt of green economic shoots within the UK, the profile of the apprenticeship and other vocational pathways continues to rise not only in Wales, but across the UK.” 

“ACT has trainee and apprenticeship opportunities available with some of Wales’ top employers waiting to be filled as we speak, so it’s vital that we bring prospective learners and welsh businesses together wherever possible.” 

Andrew continued: “To have welcomed the Deputy Minister for Skills along to ACT and raise not only the issues we face as a key training provider for Wales, but to also give our learners a chance to directly voice their own issues, has been hugely beneficial to all those concerned.” 

ACT Training is Wales’ largest training provider, providing more than 30 routes to a range of learning opportunities for young people across the country in the form of traineeships, apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates, said: “As the Welsh Government’s 10 Year Skills Strategy shows, the future of the Welsh economy will be boosted further through direct and continuing engagement between employers, training providers and young people.”

“I was hugely encouraged by all those I met at ACT Training’s ‘Employ Me’ day, therefore, and by the significant contribution such events can make towards the ongoing discussion surrounding vocational qualifications nationally.”