It’s turning out to be a memorable year for talented butcher Ben Roberts who has added another award to his growing list of honours.

In the space of just a few weeks, 30-year-old Ben, from M. E. Evans Traditional Butchers, Overton on Dee, has collected two Apprentice of the Year awards.

His first came at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards in Cardiff. Now he has been recognised at training provider Cambrian Training Company’s annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards.

Ben will also be competing with the Craft Butchery Team Wales at the World Butchers Challenge in America in September, finished third in the 2021 WorldSkills UK butchery competition and has been appointed Skills Excellence in Wales Ambassador.

Completing an Apprenticeship in Food Management with Cambrian Training Company, one of Wales’ leading work-based learning provider, has given him the confidence and self-esteem to excel at his craft.

Since completing his apprenticeship, Ben has been promoted from shop manager in Overton-on-Dee to managing the entire M. E. Evans business. He is now progressing to Apprenticeship in Business Management, with plans to continue his learning journey.

Ben said: “There was an unbelievable level of competition for this award and the two other finalists were winners in their own right. It will take time to sink in that I’m the best out of all the people in the category.

“Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to push yourself in the workplace. The progression that’s possible through apprenticeships is huge.

“I am now hoping that I can make it a hat-trick of award at the World Butchers Challenge, which would be a great finish to the year.”

The other Apprentice of the Year finalists were Despoina Tsolakaki, 27, The Danish Bakery, Cardiff and Kayla Millon, Whitbread – Premier Inn Caerphilly Crossways who lives in Port Talbot.

Recognising employers and learners who have excelled in apprenticeship, skills and employment training programmes delivered by Cambrian Training Company, the awards were held at The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindod Wells on June 14.

With offices in Welshpool, Holyhead, Colwyn Bay, Llanelli and Llanelwedd, Cambrian Training Company delivers work-based apprenticeships across Wales.

Arwyn Watkins, OBE, the company’s managing director, congratulated Ben, the other award winners and finalists for their achievements despite the challenging disruptions caused by the pandemic over the past two years.

“These awards showcase the dedication and commitment by individuals and companies to the apprenticeship programme here in Wales,” he added. “Ben has demonstrated what can be achieved in career progression through apprenticeships.”

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Picture caption:

Ben Roberts receives the Apprentice of the Year award from Arwyn Watkins, OBE, managing director of Cambrian Training Company.