Apprentices and Employers Celebrated at Annual Awards


Cambrian Training Company’s managing director Faith O’Brien (centre) with the award winners.

Two South Wales businesses enjoyed double success at a leading Welsh work-based learning provider’s annual awards dinner.

The Celtic Collection, a group of business and leisure brands including the iconic Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, and The Green Giraffe Nursery, Cardiff, collected two awards each.

In addition to winning the Large Employer of the Year accolade, The Celtic Collection celebrated employee Kieran Ray, who works at the Celtic Manor Resort, being named Apprentice of the Year at Cambrian Training Company’s annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards.

John Eagle, The Celtic Collection’s learning development manager, said:

“We are very proud to win these awards and to be recognised for developing our people. Apprenticeships are the cornerstone of our workforce and our message is: come and join us, whatever your background, and you can develop a career in hospitality that has the potential to take you around the world.”

The Green Giraffe Nursery was named Medium Employer of the Year and employee Laura Harding was joint winner of the Foundation Apprentice of the Year Award with Jan Gric from Nazareth House, Cardiff.

“These awards are lovely recognition for our investment in our people,” said Andea McCormack, The Green Giraffe’s nursery director. “We are really honoured and hope being recognised as the Medium Employer of the Year will help us to attract more apprentices.”

The annual awards recognise the outstanding achievements of employers and learners from across Wales who have excelled in apprenticeship programmes delivered by Welshpool-based Cambrian Training Company and its sub-contractors.

Twenty-seven finalists competed for this year’s awards organised by the leading provider of apprenticeships to the hospitality sector in Wales and held at The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindod Wells.

There were also joint winners of the Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Award, with Stewart Wooles from ESS-Compass, Crickhowell, and Sam Hoyland, who works for JNP Legal, Merthyr Tydfil, being recognised.

Anna Tommis, who works for Stenaline, Holyhead, was named Higher Apprentice of the Year, while Catherine Isaac, who divides her working week between Cambrian Training Company and the company’s restaurant with rooms, Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, Llanidloes, won the Welsh Apprentice Ambassador award.

The Small Employer of the Year Award went to Fleetsauce, Wrexham, and Puffin Produce Ltd from Haverfordwest received an Employer Special Recognition Award.

Cambrian Training Company’s executive chairman Arwyn Watkins, OBE, said:

“As someone who started out on their career as an apprentice at the age of 16,  I know only too well the difference a hands-on vocational learning opportunity can make to an individual’s career prospects. It is the very foundation to the world of work and success.

“The apprenticeship programme in Wales is very often seen as the largest continuing professional development programme for the workforce. We are so lucky to have the support of all political parties who recognise the importance of supporting this programme and I am so proud of the teams delivering the programme across Wales in a range of sectors.”

He also praised employers who support apprenticeships.

“Unlike any other programme of professional learning, an apprentice requires a contract of employment,” he said. “Today in Wales, under 25% of employers enable their employees to undertake an apprenticeship programme, so let’s celebrate those that entrust us to help them grow and develop their workforce.”

Faith O’Brien, Cambrian Training Company’s managing director, congratulated all the award winners and finalists who, she said, richly deserved recognition for their dedication and commitment to driving the economy forward and supporting the apprenticeship programme here in Wales.

The other finalists were: Foundation Apprentice of the Year, Robert Stephens, ESS-Compass, Crickhowell. Apprentice of the Year, Keri-Ann Evans, Bluestone, Narberth and Eveline Maria Meerdink, Robinsons, Conwy. Higher Apprentice of the Year, Tina Barry, Sirius Skills Consulting Ltd, Mountain Ash.

Outstanding Apprentice of the Year finalists were, Anne Lucas, Bluebird Home Care, Cowbridge; Andrew John Ogborne, Ogborne to Drive, Llanelli; Rajani Gurung, Woodside Care Home, Port Talbot; Ethan Wodecki, Vale Resort, Hensol;  Mike Evans, Sirius Skills, Mountain Ash;  Dobromila Illieva, Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdovey; Adri Razumnova, Celtic Collection’s The Parkgate Hotel, Cardiff and Emma Purcell, Little Red Berries Day Nursery, Cwmbran.

Small Employer of the Year finalists, Kings Arms, Cardiff; Crown Inn and Coffi Fach, Bridgend. Medium Employer of the Year, Puffin Produce Ltd, Haverfordwest and Nazareth House. Large Employer of the Year, Vale Resort, Hensol.

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