The Celtic Collection and In the Welsh Wind were both double winners at the annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards organised by one of Wales’ top training companies.
Recognising employers and learners who have excelled in apprenticeship, skills and employment training programmes delivered by Cambrian Training Company, the awards were held at The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindod Wells on June 14.
The Celtic Collection, which includes the flagship Celtic Manor Resort, International Convention Centre Wales, Coldra Court Hotel, Tŷ Hotel Magor, Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront and The Parkgate Hotel Cardiff, won the Large Employer of the Year award.
There was a double celebration when Nerys Smithwick, room service adviser at the Celtic Manor Resort, was named Higher Apprentice of the Year.
Award-winning In the Welsh Wind gin and whiskey distillery at Tanygroes, Cardigan named the Small Employer of the Year whilst the company’s lead distiller Ffion Lewis, 22, won the Foundation Apprentice of the Year award.
Due to the quality of the nominees in the Outstanding Individual of the Year category, Cambrian Training Company opted to present two awards. The winners were Finn Curran, 25, from Cardiff, who works in the customer service team at Forte School of Music (Cardiff) Ltd and apprentice butcher Kane Deacon-Roberts, 25, NS James Limited, who lives in Cwmbran.
Butcher Ben Roberts, 30, who works for M. E. Evans, Overton-on-Dee and lives in Wrexham, added the Apprentice of the Year award to his growing list of honours. He was also named Apprentice of the Year at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Award and is due to compete with Craft Butchery Team Wales at the World Butchers Challenge in America later this year.
The Menai Seafood Company, Porth Penrhyn, Bangor won the Micro Employer of the Year award, Celtica Foods, Cross Hands, Llanelli was named Medium Employer of the Year and Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth won the Macro Employer of the Year award.
The other finalists were: Foundation Apprentice of the Year: Ryan Harding, 26, Kepak, Merthyr Tydfil who lives in Blaenavon. Apprentice of the Year: Despoina Tsolakaki, 27, The Danish Bakery, Cardiff and Kayla Millon, Whitbread – Premier Inn Caerphilly Crossways who lives in Port Talbot.
Higher Apprentice of the Year: Jessica Kelly, 26, Stena Line, who lives in Goodwick, Fishguard. Outstanding individual: Harley Bayliss, 21, formerly of The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindod Wells who lives in Kington.
Micro Employer of the Year: Freedom Saddlery at Whitegate Farm, Hope, Wrexham. Small Employer of the Year: Castle Inn Pembrokeshire Limited, Newport. Medium Employer of the Year: Thorncliffe Building Supplies, Dyserth.
With offices in Welshpool, Holyhead, Colwyn Bay, Llanelli and Llanelwedd, Cambrian Training Company delivers work-based apprenticeships across Wales.
Arwyn Watkins, OBE, Cambrian Training Company’s managing director, congratulated all the award winners and finalists for their achievements in the face of challenging disruptions caused by the pandemic over the past two years.
“You are all winners, the very best in your categories as apprentices and businesses,” he said. “These awards showcase the dedication and commitment by individuals and companies to the apprenticeship programme here in Wales.
“The individual finalists have demonstrated what can be achieved in career progression through apprenticeships. The employer finalists are all strong advocates of the apprenticeship programme, demonstrating true commitment to developing their workforce and creating job opportunities to support their local communities.”
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Cambrian Training Company’s managing director Arwyn Watkins, OBE (seated right), with some of the award winners.