Ice Cream Parlour’s Commitment to Staff Development Recognised with Award


A North Wales ice cream and pizzeria business has won the Upskilling Business of the Year award in this year’s Wales Food and Drink Awards.

The awards, which are held annually, provide a platform for Welsh producers and suppliers to celebrate their achievements in a rapidly growing and diverse industry.

Glaslyn of Beddgelert won the Upskilling Business of the Year category, which required them to evidence a culture that valued training and improving skills, together with increasing productivity and efficiency, innovation and sustainable growth.

Established by Joan and Bert Rowley in 1970, Glaslyn began as a gift shop and café at the foot of Yr Wyddfa. The business was later developed into an ice cream parlour and pizzeria by their son Derek and his wife Elaine.

Since 2018, Derek and Elaine’s daughter Bonnie has taken on the business, which sources its ingredients from the local area and now employs eight people all year round and a further 28 casual team members. Bonnie has introduced new ways of working to the business from adopting sustainable practices to training staff.

Under Bonnie’s direction, managers and heads of departments have completed Level 3 and Level 5 Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) courses, and Bonnie has also participated in a Help to Grow management course.

All food handlers receive accredited food safety training, with others completing a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification.

Bonnie said:

“As a small business, it’s great to be recognised through an award like this. We can’t quite believe it because none of us expected it.

“Since I took the business over from my parents five years ago, we’ve been continuously investing in skills for our staff, as we see this as a key to help with growth.

“Although it’s required a culture change, it has been very rewarding for the business. By helping staff with new skills, such as personal development and skills-based training, it has empowered them to take on more tasks, roles and responsibilities.

“I’m passionate about learning and education, and I like to see people fulfil their potential. Upskilling over the years has definitely improved business performance, with staff becoming more confident, along with helping retain them, which is particularly important as it can be challenging to recruit in our sector.”

Glaslyn was also shortlisted for the Sustainable Business of the Year award. The company has worked with Greener Edge to complete a full Scope 3 analysis for its carbon footprint and has been carbon negative for two years.

Bonnie continued:

“We’re planning to improve our premises by updating our windows and doors and installing solar panels to generate our own electricity.

“We offset 120% of our 2022 carbon emissions with two projects. We discovered The ACES Vanga Blue Forest Project through Bangor University that protects mangroves and communities on the Kenyan-Tanzanian border. We offset a further 216 tonnes of CO2 Emissions with the Gold Standard Cleaner, Safer Water project in Cambodia.

“On a more local level, we are working with Eryri National Park with its Plastic Free Yr Wyddfa Di-Blastig project, to help reduce our waste and remove single use plastics. We now also work with a local supplier, Llaethdy Plas Isa Dairy, who supplies our milk in reuseable buckets.

“We also donate 10% of our wholesale ice cream profits to the conservation of Eryri via Cymdeithas Eryri (Snowdonia Society).

“When it comes to staff skills I would urge businesses to make the most of the support that is on offer. Along with good planning, it really does pay to invest in your staff in the long run.”

Sponsoring this year’s Upskilling Business of the Year category was Food & Drink Skills Wales/Sgiliau Bwyd a Diod Cymru, a Welsh Government-funded programme committed to working with the food and drink industry in Wales to develop a skilled and capable workforce.

Working with businesses like Glaslyn, the programme helps equip employees with the right skills and training to succeed. Support includes areas such as production and manufacturing, through to workshops focusing on decarbonisation and a more sustainable future.

Nerys Davies, Project Manager of Food & Drink Skills Wales/Sgiliau Bwyd a Diod Cymru said:

“We are delighted that Glaslyn has won the Upskilling Business of the Year award and was shortlisted for the Sustainable Business of the Year award.

“They are a great example of the value of food and drink business investing in their people through training and adopting sustainable practices. Ultimately, this is an investment in their future and helping to make them more resilient.

“Food & Drink Skills Wales has a wide range of support packages on offer to help businesses, and I’d urge all businesses to find out more about how we can help them succeed.”

For more information about Sgiliau Bwyd a Diod Cymru / Food & Drink Skills Wales, visit

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