A BT Wales Director has paid tribute to the contribution of apprentices to the business as the company collected a major honour at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
BT Wales was named Macro Employer of the Year and has been working with Acorn's dedicated Training Division.
After being named a winner at this year’s awards ceremony, held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20, Alwen Williams said: “we are absolutely delighted to win this award. We have been running an apprenticeship programme at BT Wales for 50 years and continue to evolve in our approach to enhance the skills and knowledge of our workforce.
“A lot of people have worked really hard to make it happen, but most of all I would like to thank the apprentices for their contribution and commitment to the business.”
The awards ceremony brought together the cream of learners, employers and training providers across Wales, who had excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
Thirty-three star learners, employers and learning providers involved in the delivery of a range of successful skills programmes across Wales were shortlisted for the prestigious awards, jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). The awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.
As one of the world’s leading communications companies BT must ensure its employees are trained to the highest standards to deliver the services its customers expect. The company employs 91 apprentices in Wales, with plans to recruit 71 more this year.
According to BT, apprentices are five percent more engaged than the rest of the company’s workforce. The company also has a 96 percent retention rate over five years.
Working with training provider Acorn, each apprentice has a structured development path and receives on the job training alongside their academic journey with NVQ / study days, progress reviews, development discussions and skills support. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of roles, from business administration, ICT and engineering and next year BT is introducing cyber security.
Bob Soper-Dyer, Head of BT's Apprenticeship Programme, said: "the apprenticeship programme helps us to capture the best talent, skills and leadership capabilities for the future. BT has operated apprenticeships for so long it's inherent in our culture and embedded into our talent acquisition strategy, making them integral to workforce planning which forecasts three years ahead."
Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated BT, the other award winners and the shortlisted finalists.
She said: “we are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 percent.
“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices."