Star learners, employers, tutors and assessors from across Wales have been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.

Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious awards which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales in Newport on October 24.

The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s traineeship and apprenticeship programmes.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year.

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated the finalists and thanked all the learners, employers, tutors and assessors who had applied for this year’s awards.

“Our Welsh Government’s apprenticeships and traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need.

“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.

“It is particularly pleasing to see three finalists in the new Tomorrow’s Talent category which recognises the personal progress of a stand out current apprentice and their early impact on business performance.

“The awards ceremony at the International Convention Centre Wales on October 24 promises to be an exciting event.”

Congratulating the finalists Connie Dixon, Partnership Director for Openreach in Wales, said: “The future prosperity of the Welsh economy depends on our young people getting the appropriate skills, support and training in the workplace.”

“Apprenticeships play a vital role in helping us to meet that goal and are also a fantastic route into the workplace. At Openreach we place a great value on recruiting new apprentices every year into a wide range of roles and appreciate the significant contribution they bring to the business – in terms of new skills, new experiences and new ideas.

“We’re delighted to be associated with this year’s awards and good luck to all the finalists.”

The awards, together with finalists from Gwent are:

l The Tomorrow’s Talent category gives employers the opportunity to nominate a current apprentice who has ‘demonstrated significant personal progress’ and has made ‘a tangible and positive impact on the employer’s organisational performance.’

Finalists include Joe Peskett from the Office of National Statistics, Newport, a learner with ALS Training.

l The Employability category has awards for Traineeship Learner of the Year for Engagement and Level 1.

l Apprentices are recognised with awards for three different levels of achievement.

Foundation Apprentice of the Year.

Apprentice of the Year, with finalists including Rebekah Chatfield from Brød The Danish Bakery Ltd, Pontcanna, Cardiff, a learner with Cambrian Training; and Shane Ash from Tata Steel Strip Products UK, Llanwern, Newport, a learner with Coleg Gwent and University of South Wales.

Higher Apprentice of the Year.

l Successful employers will be competing for four awards.

Small Employer of the Year (up to 49 employees), where the finalists include Freight Logistics Solutions, Pontypool, whose training provider is Torfaen Training.

Medium Employer of the Year (50 to 249).

Large Employer of the Year (250 to 4,999), where the finalists include Legal and General Investment Management, Cardiff, whose training provider is TSW Training and Aspire Blaenau Gwent, Ebbw Vale.

Macro Employer of the Year (5,000 plus), including Lloyds Banking Group, Newport, whose training provider is Cardiff and Vale College.

l Work-based learning practitioner excellence is rewarded with two accolades: Work-based Learning Assessor of the Year and Work-based Learning Tutor of the Year.