A dozen finalists from across Wales have been shortlisted for this year’s Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards, which celebrate those who use technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success.
They will be competing for coveted awards in four categories at a ceremony to be held at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff on June 6, the eve of VQ Day on June 7.
The VQ awards are organised by the Welsh Government, National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru / CollegesWales and Qualifications Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
The VQ Learner Awards recognise learners who clearly demonstrate progression and excellence in vocational studies and have made considerable achievements in their field.
The finalists are: The VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year: Alys Evans, of GIlfach Goch, nominated by Coleg y Cymoedd, Ystrad Mynach; Jason Hyam, f Cardiff, from Arthur J. Gallagher, Llantrisant who was nominated by Acorn Learning Solutions and Maria Brooks, of Porthcawl, from Ford Motor Company, Bridgend who was nominated by Bridgend College. This award is for learners with qualifications up to level three.
VQ Higher Learner of the Year: Christine Thomas from Newport City Council’s waste management department who was nominated by Safe and Secure Training; Julie Mundy from Seren Cyf, Blaenau Ffestiniog who was nominated by Cambrian Training Company and Mitchell Rees from Bridgend College who was nominated by Bridgend College. This award is for qualifications from level four upwards.
The new VQ Trainer of the Year Award recognises individual trainers who have made a telling contribution to supporting learners in the workplace to achieve excellence whilst also constantly improving their own skills and knowledge.
The finalists are: Gwenno Jones, from Portal Training, Cardiff; Lisa Winter of Arthur J. Gallagher, Llantrisant who was nominated by Acorn Learning Solutions, Newport and Matthew Booth from Electroimpact UK Ltd, Hawarden who was nominated by Coleg Cambria, Wrexham.
The VQ Employer of the Year Award focuses on employers who promote the value of vocational qualifications in the workplace and make a real contribution to improving the skills and national competitiveness.
Finalists are: Arthur J. Gallagher, Llantrisant, nominated by Acorn Learning Solutions; Electroimpact UK Ltd, Hawarden, nominated by Coleg Cambria and Mainetti, Wrexham, nominated by Cambrian Training Company.
Now in their 10th consecutive year, the awards coincide with VQ Day on June 7, a celebration of vocational qualifications for learners, teachers, training providers and employers. Learning providers across Wales are being encouraged to organise regional events to celebrate VQ Day and engage with learners of all ages.
Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James congratulated all the shortlisted finalists and thanked everyone who had entered this year’s awards;
“A VQ Award is a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession,” she said. “The awards help us to celebrate those Welsh employers, learners and trainers who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.
“If the Welsh economy is to continue to grow, then we must ensure that employers, individuals, training providers and the Welsh Government work together to invest in the right skills for success to equip Wales with a world class workforce.
“VQ Day celebrates vocational qualifications that give learners a foot in the door to the industry they want to work in and can prepare them for vocational study or university. The training must reflect and respond to the needs of industry if it is to benefit employees and the businesses they work for.
“A strong business sector, a strong economy and strong employers are critical to a strong vocational educational sector. Therefore, VQ Day and these awards are all about recognising the sector and the opportunity to engage with learners of all ages.
“Vocational qualifications have never been more important to the economy and the individual, as they deliver the trained, talented employees that businesses are crying out for and ensure individuals have the skills needed to succeed in education and work.”