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Llantrisant-based Financial Service Company Runner-up for VQ Employer of the Year Award


A successful South Wales-based financial services company Arthur J. Gallagher, which is committed to continuous professional development of its staff, was a runner up in this year’s Vocational Qualification (VQ) awards for Wales.

Arthur J Gallagher

The majority of staff at the Llantrisant-based arm of its international business constantly improve their skills through in-house training delivered by Acorn, an award-winning training provider and specialist recruitment agency.

Arthur J. Gallagher was one of three companies shortlisted for the VQ Employer of the Year Award at the annual awards ceremony held at St David’s Hotel and Spa, Cardiff. The award celebrates employers that invest in vocational learning to drive up workforce skills and increase productivity and competitiveness.

The VQ Awards are organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and ColegauCymru / CollegesWales.

Arthur J. Gallagher’s regional manager Paul Norman said:

“More than 80% of our team in Wales are members of the Chartered Insurance Institute and many have a Certll qualification or are working towards it. This has a direct impact on job satisfaction and positive customer feedback. The training allows our colleagues to feel confident in their knowledge of the industry.”

The company has worked with training provider Acorn for six years, accelerating the programme two years ago when the former Giles Insurance company was bought out by the American-based Arthur J. Gallagher.

Backing up their long-standing two-day a week training programme with Acorn Learning Division’s training advisor Lisa Winter, the company has recently taken on its own training manager to help identify and grow the skill sets of its staff which revolve around knowledge of the industry coupled with shared values and ethical conduct.

Helena Williams, corporate development director for Acorn, said:

“AJG has not stopped embracing the Apprenticeship programme and has been one of the leading firms in Wales to take forward the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship which encompasses the Cll Diploma. They fly the flag for work-based learning.”

Minister of Skills and Science Julie James congratulated the finalists and praised everyone who had been nominated for the VQ Awards this year.

“Vocational skills have a huge impact on the Welsh economy and we value the gold standard of vocational learning being delivered to people right across Wales,” she said.

“Both VQ Day and the VQ Awards provide the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate not only the high standard of technical, practical and vocational learning being delivered in Wales, but also the many personal successes and achievements of our learners.

“High quality VQs are essential to provide individuals and businesses with the skills, experience, motivation and inspiration they need to get ahead. Ultimately it is only with appropriately skilled and trained people that we can drive forward the Welsh economy.

“Many of our VQ Award finalists this year have demonstrated that they are marked out as future leaders or ambitious entrepreneurs and have an eye on making sound business decisions and increasing productivity.”

Now in their ninth year, the awards coincided with VQ Day on June 8, a celebration of the benefits and value of high quality technical, practical and vocational learning to individuals and to the economy. There were also awards for VQ Learner of the Year Higher Level and VQ Learner of the Year Intermediate Level.


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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