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Residential library dedicated to learning wins apprenticeship award

Cambrian Training Apprenticeship Awards 2023. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB74-2023

A NORTH Wales residential library and charity dedicated to the pursuit of learning for visitors, staff and volunteers alike has won an award from a leading Welsh apprenticeship provider.

Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden was named Small Employer of the Year at Cambrian Training Company’s annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards.

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

Andrea Russell, Gladstone’s Library warden, said: “We are absolutely delighted to win this award. Apprenticeships are a new programme for us and our three apprentices are well supported by Cambrian Training.

“Our apprentices bring such a freshness to the workplace and can immediately put into practice what they learn. Learning and development are at the core of the library and it’s exciting to reflect that in our staff.

“Hopefully, we can expand apprenticeships to other areas of the business to demonstrate that learning is for everybody.”

With 26 bedrooms, a 50-cover restaurant and three conference rooms, Gladstone’s Library has 49 employees and 25 volunteers.

The staff team was re-formed after the library closed for 18 months due to the pandemic, with only seven of the original employees remaining. New staff were recruited and trained as a new team in September, 2021.

Most of the hospitality team have not previously worked in the industry and are being supported to develop their skills. Apprenticeships are developing three hospitality staff and adding value to their roles with the aim of retaining their services.

Elizabeth Newmarch, the library’s human resources officer, said: “We have embraced the apprentice programme as a way for our existing staff to develop further within their roles. Retaining staff has to be a strategic priority in this tight labour market.

“Our apprentices have demonstrated a commitment to learning and self-development and would be difficult to replace. They are ambitious and, with the support of their manager, are now able to develop their skills and abilities within their existing roles.”

Faith O’Brien, Cambrian Training Company’s managing director, congratulated Gladstone’s Library and the other award winners and finalists. “Employers are the driving force behind the success of apprenticeships and their dedication to providing quality training and mentorship is commendable,” she said.

“Through their participation, they open the doors to real-world experiences, enabling apprentices to acquire the practical skills and knowledge necessary for their chosen fields.

“Apprenticeships are an investment in our future and they provide the foundation for a strong and vibrant economy.”

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