The Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, today joined Welsh apprentices, colleges and leading manufacturers to celebrate 65 years of Welsh manufacturing apprentice awards.
The awards, run by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation and sponsored by Aldermore and Jam Recruitment, are designed to recognise and reward the most impressive, dedicated and inspiring Welsh manufacturing apprentices.
The awards were established back in 1950 – following the second world war - and have increased in importance, serving to highlight the ongoing and growing contribution of manufacturing to the Welsh economy. Manufacturing accounts for 11% of total workforce jobs in Wales, is the largest sector in Wales in terms of GVA and employs almost 4,000 apprentices.
This year’s awards and birthday celebration were held at Cardiff City Football Stadium where the Deputy Minister was on hand to cut a cake with EEF’s CEO, Terry Scuoler, and to meet nominated apprentices and view an exhibition of their work.
She was particularly impressed with the number of female nominees this year, seeing this as a positive sign that the drive to encourage young women to take up manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships is bearing fruit.
Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, said: “It is important that we recognise the contribution being made by these impressive young people and by the companies that are training them. Apprenticeships play an important role in upskilling employees and are of great benefit to employers.
“I am committed to ensuring apprenticeships remain valued and relevant in Wales. That’s why I published a consultation last week, inviting organisations for their views on aligning apprenticeship programmes in Wales with the needs of the economy.
“The consultation will look at raising course standards, ensuring programmes meet employer need and increasing demand for Welsh-medium provision.”
Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, said: “Today’s celebration is a landmark for manufacturing apprenticeships in Wales and serves as a timely reminder of the value of apprenticeships, not just to the economy, but also to young people.
“The opportunity to learn valuable skills and to embark on an interesting and rewarding career in manufacturing has clearly motivated the apprentices here today. It is vital that many more are given, and take, the opportunity to join them.”
Details of this year’s winning apprentices will be released shortly.