Coveted awards launched to recognise Wales’ apprenticeship stars

Stars of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programme are being encouraged to shine brightly at this year’s prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

Successful employers, inspirational apprentices and talented work-based learning practitioners are being encouraged to enter the awards to showcase their outstanding achievements during unprecedented times.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor for third year is Openreach.

The Welsh Government has recently announced £366 million investment over the next three years to deliver 125,000 all-age apprenticeships across Wales during the current term of government, which is due to end in 2026.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Apprenticeships make a huge contribution to our economy and will be crucial as Wales continues to bounce back from the pandemic. They can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce, offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills.

“The Welsh Government’s £366 million investment will increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop transferable skills in the workplace and improve their lives.

“It will also help tackle skills shortages and gaps in priority sectors critical to drive productivity and economic growth, supporting our net zero ambitions, the every-day foundational economy and public services.

“I encourage all those involved in our Apprenticeship Programme to celebrate their achievements and inspire others to follow their example by entering this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru and sharing their success stories.”

Connie Dixon, Openreach Partnership Director for Wales, said: “As the largest private recruiter of apprentices in Wales we’re delighted to be headline sponsor of this year’s awards once again.

“Apprentices play a crucial role for us as at Openreach as they bring new skills, energy and ways of working to the business which helps us build our ultrafast full fibre network across Wales.

“We place a great value on recruiting new apprentices into a wide range of roles and appreciate the significant contribution they bring to not only Openreach but also to the wider Welsh economy.”

Application forms for the awards are available to download from gov.wales/apprenticeshipawardscymru and the closing date for entries is 12 noon on May 20, 2022.

From the applications, finalists in nine categories will be shortlisted for awards. There are awards for the Foundation Apprentice, Apprentice and Higher Apprentice of the Year, which, includes degree apprentices for the first time this year.

The “Tomorrow’s Talent” category gives employers the opportunity to nominate a current apprentice who has ‘demonstrated significant personal progress’ and has made ‘a tangible and positive impact on the employer’s organisational performance.’

Successful businesses are recognised with awards for small, medium, large and macro employers of the year. Work-based Learning Practitioner of the Year, recognises those crucially involved in delivering apprenticeships.

Rhayader-based engineering company, Compact Orbital Gears, winner of the Small Employer of the Year Award last year, endorsed the value of the awards to the business.

Tricia Evans, financial controller, said: “Winning the award last year was very special to us because we are a small engineering company based in rural Mid Wales. Due to continuing recruitment issues, it’s essential to the growth of the company that we take on apprentices and retain our workforce.

“We are proud to have been recognised for the work we do with apprentices – 36% of our workforce have done apprenticeships with us. We currently have two apprentices and are trying to recruit more because we have found them to be committed, hardworking and willing to take on responsibility quickly under the guidance of our mentors.

“We use cutting edge technology to make bespoke test rigs to the specifications of our customers who work in the Formula 1, E-car, aerospace and clean energy sectors, and we also refurbish wind turbines.”

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund. For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: https://gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision or call 03000 603000.

Picture caption:

Compact Orbital Gears’ production manager Rob Price with Rowan Morgan who has recently completed his apprenticeship in engineering.

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