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Dozen Finalists from Across Wales Shortlisted for this Year’s Coveted VQ Awards


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.”


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Duncan Foulkes Public Relations Limited is a well established communications consultancy based in beautiful Mid Wales.

Incorporating public and media relations, the consultancy provides a range of services to businesses and organisations throughout Wales and the Marches.

A former newspaper journalist for 24 years, Duncan moved into PR in 1999 after editing the County Times & Express & Gazette newspapers – the main weekly titles in Mid Wales – for five years.

His main reason for leaving the newspaper industry was a desire for a new career challenge. His successful PR business predominantly focuses on companies based in Wales and Shropshire.

His motto is to keep things as simple as possible to avoid over-complicating what is a straightforward goal – to achieve media coverage for a client.

Duncan’s wide-ranging work entails media campaigns, researching and drafting press releases, media liaison, political lobbying, event management, organising photocalls, website content advice, social media and newsletters.

He has extensive PR experience of the food and drink, education and training, catering and hospitality, insurance and financial services, manufacturing, tourism, farming, property, fine art, lubricants and telematics sectors.

His contacts extend from local newspapers in Wales to the national print and broadcast media, trade publications and digital media.

Duncan Foulkes PR uses only the most creative photographers, ensuring that photography to support his work is of the highest quality.

He is passionate about issues relating to the countryside and enjoys fly fishing, watching sport and spending time with his family in his spare time.

Services provided:

Public Relations
Media Relations
Public Affairs
Crisis Communications
Event management

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