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Mid Wales distillery named Small Employer of the Year training awards

Sally Sellwood from In the Welsh Wind receives the Small Employer of the Year award from Arwyn Watkins, OBE, managing director of Cambrian Training Company.

A MULTI-AWARD winning Mid Wales distillery has added another accolade to its collection after being recognised for its commitment to apprenticeships.

In the Welsh Wind at Tanygroes, near Cardigan, was named the Small Employer of the Year at the annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards organised by Cambrian Training Company, one of Wales’ top training providers.

The company completed a double at the awards as lead distiller Ffion Lewis, 22, was named Foundation Apprentice of the Year.

The company employs four apprentices in its workforce which has grown rapidly to 19 since September 2020. This expansion would have been impossible without the support of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programme, says the company.

Apprentices are credited with injecting energy and enthusiasm into In the Welsh Wind, where Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships in Brewing, Hospitality Supervision and Leadership and Digital Marketing are delivered by Cambrian Training Company.

In the Welsh Wind also recently won the COVID 19 Resilience award at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards.

The company produces award-winning gin and is now pioneering the first fully Welsh whisky using barley grown in the fields of South Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire, entirely processed and matured at the distillery site in west Wales.

After receiving the award, Sally Sellwood, In the Welsh Wind’s human resources and content manager, said: “We are delighted to have won the award. When we started the apprenticeship programme, we were not really sure what it would be like but it has turned out to be hugely valuable to the business.

“Our apprentices are fantastic. They bring their experience, however diverse that may be, and contribute significantly to our business growth. It has totally validated our trust in the programme and we appreciate the support from the Welsh Government which allows employers like us to grow.

“Creating jobs to retain people in this part of Wales has been fundamental to the business ethos of our founder Ellen Wakelam. The award vindicates that approach.”

Recognising employers and learners who have excelled in apprenticeship, skills and employment training programmes delivered by Cambrian Training Company, the awards were held at The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindod Wells on June 14.

The other Small Employer of the Year finalist was Castle Inn Pembrokeshire Limited, Newport.

With offices in Welshpool, Holyhead, Colwyn Bay, Llanelli and Llanelwedd, Cambrian Training Company delivers work-based apprenticeships across Wales.

Arwyn Watkins, OBE, the company’s managing director, congratulated In the Welsh Wind and the other award winners and finalists for their achievements despite the challenging disruptions caused by the pandemic over the past two years.

“These awards showcase the dedication and commitment by individuals and companies to the apprenticeship programme here in Wales,” he added. “In the Welsh Wind is showing true commitment to developing staff and supporting its local community.”

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