Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

VQ Awards Shortlist Recognises Employers’ Achievements


Three Welsh employers have had their dedication and accomplishments rewarded by being named as finalists in the prestigious Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards 2019.

Deloitte LLP, Scarlet Knight, and St. Cyres School have succeeded to impress the judging panel and been recognised as deserving finalists in the Employer of the Year category of this year’s VQ Awards, which are designed to reward individuals and organisations for their commitment, hard work and achievements.

An innovative apprenticeship programme by Deloitte LLP has paved the way for a new generation of young people to flourish in the financial services sector in Cardiff.

Deloitte introduced a work-based learning apprenticeship programme in 2015 and, to date, 74 learners have joined a programme providing more opportunities outside of traditional accountancy-type roles to young people who may not previously have considered a career in the industry.

It is helping to change the misconception that top-level finance jobs are reserved for those with university degrees with the programme guaranteeing that successful apprentices have a permanent job in their area of work, and the opportunity to continue their vocational education.

The company offers a range of academic and professional qualifications, including an award-winning City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration. It has also launched an open access adult employability skills programme, and has a long-running schools outreach programme.

Two former apprentices have forged a formidable husband and wife partnership that is bringing through a new generation of well-trained and qualified professionals at their successful hair and beauty business – Scarlet Knight.

Scarlet Knight puts each of its employees through apprenticeships and has gained an excellent reputation for providing high quality treatments supported by outstanding customer service for its clientele from Rhondda Cynon Taff and beyond.

Created by Charlotte and John Knight, the company has grown to 15 employees and places work-based training at the core of its business, providing six Level 2 and 3 NVQs covering the breadth of the industry.

Ambitious plans for the future include developing a team member to become an on-site assessor to accelerate on-the-job progression, and a goal to opening their own dedicated training academy to support a larger number of apprentices.

Promoting a culture of leadership amongst its teaching staff is inspiring pupils at St Cyres School in Penarth to be passionate and motivated to become their best.

St Cyres School introduced the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management for its teaching staff in 2016, leading to higher-than-average performance results involving those taking part.

The school has enrolled a total of 20 learners, with a number going on to secure promotions as a direct result of the improved knowledge and understanding gained through the programme.

Dedicated mentors are allocated to all staff undertaking the apprenticeship programme, and assessors from training provider, Portal Training, are on hand to ensure learners are fully supported throughout the process so that new skills are developed and applied effectively within the workplace.

Highlighting the importance of vocational qualifications to the economy, companies and individuals, Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said:

“Vocational qualifications provide a broad range of quality training for learners and a supply of skilled workers for employers, bringing in new ideas which can help businesses evolve and innovate.

“The VQ awards are an opportunity to celebrate the skill and commitment of the learners, trainers and employers who are raising the bar in the field of vocational qualifications.

“It’s important we recognise these achievements and to be shortlisted is fantastic, so well done to all the nominees!”

In their 12th year, the VQ Awards celebrate those who use technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success. A Vocational Qualification – VQ- award is a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession. The awards help us to celebrate those Welsh learners, trainers and employers who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.

There are four award categories – VQ Learner of the Year – Intermediate, VQ Learner of the Year – Higher, VQ Trainer of the Year and VQ Employer of the Year – which encompass the spectrum of learning, training and employment.

The winners will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the National Museum Cardiff on May 15. The ceremony coincides with VQ Day, which celebrates vocational achievement and the benefits of technical, practical and vocational learning to both the individual and the Welsh economy.

The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru/CollegesWales, Qualifications Wales and the Education Workforce Council. The Welsh Government’s funding has support from the European Social Fund.