One of Wales’ leading work-based learning companies has held its first Apprenticeship Graduation Awards ceremony to celebrate the success of apprentices from across the country.
Around 50 apprentices received their graduation scrolls in their cap and gowns at the ceremony organised by Welshpool-based Cambrian Training Company at the Metropole Hotel and Spa, Llandrindod Wells.
Managing director Arwyn Watkins, OBE, revealed that more than 550 of the company’s apprentices would be receiving their apprenticeship graduation scrolls this week.
Congratulating them, he appealed to the graduates to be ambassadors in their communities, promoting the benefits of an apprenticeship to progress their career.
“For years, apprenticeships have been the metaphorical unpopular kid in the further education crowd,” said Mr Watkins, “but times have changed and signing up for an apprenticeship is now a valid alternative to university, with programmes available across a wide range of sector and job roles.
“Today, those who sign up for an apprenticeship can look forward to earning and learning with some of the UK’s biggest and brightest companies.”
He said apprentices earn while they learn from real industry experts and at a pace that suits them with support from a mentor. They learn skills wanted by employers and have better long-term salary prospects and excellent career progression opportunities.
Mr Watkins said there were many examples of university graduates starting jobs in companies where their line manager had progressed their career by leaving school to begin an apprenticeship.
Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said: “Our apprentices graduating this week have experienced the most disruptive period of learning in the history of apprenticeship programmes delivered in Wales.
“They have demonstrated commitment, dedication and flexibility, all great traits that will stand them in good stead in their future career progression.
“To achieve an apprenticeship framework is highly valued by employers, individuals and society.”
He praised employers, mentors, coaches and training officers for supporting the apprentices.
Faith O’Brien, Cambrian Training Company’s operations director, thanked all the company’s partners for their support in delivering apprenticeships across Wales.
“Due to the growth of Cambrian Training Company over the last 12 months, we have been able to expand on the number of partners we work with to provide more apprenticeship opportunities in different sectors throughout Wales,” she said.
The partners are Sirius Skills Consulting, Lifetime Training, Progression Training, Call of the Wind, Clybau Plant Cymru, AGW, Work-based Training Agency, Portal Training, MTS Training, Babcock and NTG Training.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Cambrian Training Company’s ‘Class of 22’ apprenticeship graduates with managing director Arwyn Watkins (centre) at the awards ceremony.