Aug 2015 / Company

‘Excellence in skills development by learners, employers and learning providers will be showcased as 37 finalists compete for honours in a dozen categories at this year’s prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

The finalists, selected from a record number of entries as star learners, employers and training providers involved in the delivery of the successful learning programmes across Wales, will attend a high profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday, October 29.

The coveted awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Welsh economy.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and media partner is Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

The awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James commended everyone who had entered the awards and congratulated all 37 finalists, adding that she looked forward to meeting them and celebrating their success at the awards ceremony.

“I am told that the quality of entries was higher than ever this year, which demonstrates the continued success of the Welsh Government’s learning programmes, she said. “We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent.

“Developing skilled young people is vital for our economy. The Welsh Government is committed to training programmes such as apprenticeships but investment must be a shared responsibility with the education sector, businesses and individuals.

“We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the training providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices.”

There are 12 categories this year, including two new awards for learning providers. A provider award for partnership working has previous award winners ACT Limited, Cardiff and Cambrian Training Company, Welshpool as finalists.

A new award for work-based learning practitioner of the year has four finalists: Chris Hughes and Louisa Gregory from ACT Limited, Cardiff; Steven Manning from Coleg y Cymoedd, Ystrad Mynach and Sue Jeffries from Cyfle, Cardiff.

The other finalists are: Macro employer of the year (5,000 plus employees): BT, Cardiff; EE Ltd, Merthyr Tydfil and Lloyds Banking Group, Cardiff.  Large employer of the year (250-4,999): Celtic Manor Resort, Newport; Mitel, Portskewett and Natural Resources Wales, Bangor. Medium employer of the year (50-249): Little Inspirations Ltd, Llantrisant; Randall Parker Foods Ltd, Dolwen Llanidloes and Thorncliffe Abergele, Abergele. Small employer of the year (1-49): Bridge Dental Care, Newbridge, Caerphilly; Destek Accessible Technology Solutions, Port Talbot and Nemein Ltd, Pyle, Bridgend.

Higher Apprentice of the Year: Janet Bevan, Treorchy who works for Cwm Taf University Health Board, Llantrisant; Simon Cuff, Haverfordwest who works for Marlowe St David’s, Haverfordwest and Steve Bergiers, Kidwelly who works for Dyfed Powys Police, Carmarthen. Apprentice of the Year: Drew Barrett, Rhoose who works for Openreach, Cardiff; Liam Gill, Pentrechwych, Swansea who works for Ford Motor Company, Bridgend; Megan Wilkins, Newport who works for Cwmnofydd Farm, Machen and Zoe Batten, Pontypridd who works for British Airways Avionics Engineering, Pontyclun. Foundation Apprentice of the Year: Dylan Jones, Glantwymyn, Machynlleth who works for RWE Innogy Ltd, Llanidloes; Lloyd Price, Merthyr Tydfil who works for EE, Merthyr Tydfil and Sean Williams, St Asaph, who works for Thorncliffe Abergele.

Jobs Growth Wales Learner of the Year finalists: Corey McDevitt, 22, Ely, Cardiff; Lisamarie Jones, 19, Llanishen, Cardiff and Rhys Lloyd, 24, Hengoed, Caerphilly, who are all learners with Itec Training Ltd, Cardiff. Traineeships Learner of the Year (Engagement): Jac Ellis, 18, Caernarfon and Tamsin Austen, 18, Llangefni, both of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Llangefni and Saffron Tinnuche, 18, Pontarddulais, Swansea from Coleg Sir Gâr, Llanelli. Traineeships Learner of the Year (Level 1): Cory Rowlands, 18, Barry from ACT Limited, Cardiff; Elliot Stephens, 17, Cwmbran from Coleg QS, Cwmbran and Louis Bowen, 17, St Athan, Barry from Military Preparation College, Bridgend.