The hunt is on to find the star learners, employers and learning providers involved in the delivery of a range of successful skills programmes across Wales.
Applications for this year’s prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are now being invited by joint organisers the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).
The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and learning providers who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes.
The organisers are looking to identify those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to improve skills development in Wales.
Funded by the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.
This year there are 12 awards, including two in a new category for work-based learning practitioners: work-based learning assessor of the year and work-based learning tutor of the year.
This category aims to recognise the commitment, energy and enthusiasm of work-based learning practitioners and the key role they play in helping learners to develop workplace skills, to succeed in their careers and to overcome barriers to progression in their learning and work.
In the Employability category, there are awards for learner of the year (engagement) and learner of the year (level one), while the Jobs Growth Wales programme has an award for outstanding achiever of the year.
Apprenticeships are spotlighted with individual awards for foundation apprentice, apprentice and higher apprentice of the year.
Businesses of all sizes across Wales get their chance to bask in the national spotlight with awards for small employer (1- 49 employees), medium employer (50 – 249), large employer (250 – 4,999) and macro employer of the year (5,000 plus). These awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training.
Application forms are available to download from the NTfW’s website here and the closing date is noon on June 24.
One of the award winners last year was Mitel, of Caldicot, which specialises in business communications, collaboration software and services. The company won the large employer of the year award and Cenydd Burden, UK service director, encouraged other employers and individuals to enter this year.
“The apprentices, managers who run the programme and all employees associated with it, in a small or large way, have celebrated the success of winning the award,” he said. “It has reinvigorated our efforts to make the programme even more successful.
“Winning the award has provided us with the confirmation that the programme we have in Mitel has been judged to be of a high standard. Seeing young people enter the business with little or no telecommunications skills and, within two years, be involved in major projects within the company is very rewarding.
“It is doubly rewarding when we see those graduates quickly advance to more senior roles within the organisation. Mitel is in a constantly evolving market with changes to our technology being a constant. Our apprentices bring a different perspective on technology and its uses that will continue to pay dividends in the future.”
Launching the awards during Apprenticeship Week, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James encouraged learners, employers and work-based learning practitioners to showcase their achievements.
“The Welsh Government is proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe, which is developing skilled young people vital for our economy,” she said.
“We have some truly exceptional apprentices, learners, employers and work-based learning practitioners here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru are a chance for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements.
Peter Rees, NTfW chairman, said:
“These awards showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of those who have shown a real commitment to improve their skills to support the Welsh economy.
“An increasing number of employers in both the private and public sectors in Wales are placing a greater emphasis on growing their own people through apprenticeship programmes because they can see the benefits to their business.”