Oct 2015 / Company

Successful training provider ACT Limited, which works in collaboration with a network of partners to improve the quality of delivery and experience for learners across Wales, achieved a notable quadruple at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.

The Cardiff-based company not only won the Provider Award for Partnership Working award but one of its trainers, Louisa Gregory, 28, was also named Work-Based Learning Practitioner of the Year at the high profile awards ceremony held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on Thursday.

Two trainers with successful Cardiff-based work-based training provider ACT Limited are in contention to win the same award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2015.

Louisa Gregory, 28, and Chris Hughes, 54, are two of the four finalists shortlisted in the Work-Based Learning Practitioner of the Year category at the high profile awards ceremony to be held 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.

Louisa, who lives in Cardiff, has been nominated because of her energy, enthusiasm and creative approach to learning. She has worked for ACT Training for three years and is now the Fast Track Programme co-ordinator.

“I want every learner to achieve their potential,” she said. “I try to use innovative teaching methods and inspire them to be creative and curious.”

She encourages young people to use technology; some of her learners have created an animated video of the importance of communication for employment. Louisa also encourages them to get involved in the raising money for local charities.

“I have a huge passion for what I do. Seeing a young person engaged and inspired to learn, as well as taking on new challenges, really motivates me,” she said. “I was delighted that in 2014/15, 27 of the 30 learners I worked with, went on to secure full time employment.”

Chris Hughes was a retail manager for 20 years before moving into training. He is now the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) tutor with ACT Training, delivering work-based training within organisations across South Wales.

He strongly believes in tailoring his approach to the learner. “Everyone has different styles of learning and it’s important to consider that,” he said. “I use different methods to engage learners and keep them motivated.”

He’s also very keen on using technology, encouraging learners to use their phones and tablet computers. “I realised that many learners struggled with assignments because the worksheets I was giving out were too wordy,” he said. 

“I decided to use an App called Popplet instead which allows me to share charts and mind maps. This has led to much better quality assignments as well as more assignments coming in on time.”

Chris, who lives near Blackwood, said: “I get real satisfaction from helping people to learn new skills, achieve their qualifications and progress within their careers.”

He holds a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management and has started the Level 5 Diploma in Coaching and Mentoring. “After this, I plan to become more fluent and confident in the Welsh language,” he added.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James congratulated Louisa, Chris and the other 35 award finalists. “We have some truly exceptional apprentices and learners here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements,” she said.

“Equally important are the training providers, employers and practitioners who go the extra mile to support their apprentices. 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.”