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Apprentices celebrated at Welsh training provider’s graduation ceremony

“REMEMBER this day as a milestone, but not the destination,” more than 70 Welsh apprentices were told at their apprenticeship graduation ceremony in Mid Wales.

That was the message from Faith O’Brien, managing director of Cambrian Training Company which, with its sub-contractors, celebrated the achievements of their apprentices at the bi-annual ceremony held at the Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd.

“The skills you have gained through your apprenticeship are the tools; how you utilise them, shape them and innovate with them is up to you,” she told the graduates.

“As you move forward, keep the spirit of learning alive, embrace challenges and remember that every experience, good or bad, is a step closer to the professional you aspire to be.

“Congratulations and here’s to new beginnings, to the future leaders, innovators and trailblazers, and to the immense potential that each one of you holds. Believe in yourselves, trust in your abilities to overcome any obstacle that may come your way and never lose sight of your capacity to achieve greatness.”

Cambrian Training Company is one of Wales’ leading work-based learning providers, delivering apprenticeships for the Wesh Government.

Graduate apprentice David Moore with Cambrian Training Company’s managing director Faith O’Brien

A former apprentice herself, Faith said a Foundation Apprenticeship in Administration marked the start of her practical learning journey which has led to her current role.

She thanked trainers and mentors who had contributed to the success of the graduating apprentices and the company’s partners and stakeholders for their “unwavering support”.

“Our collaboration ensures that the skills our apprentices gain are not just relevant but are exactly what our evolving industries need,” she added.

The graduates included friends Alex Deacon, 34, and Iain Sturdy, 37, who work as apprentice chefs for ESS-Compass, Crickhowell and both live in Abertillery. Having both achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship in Cooking  they are now progressing to a Level 3 Apprenticeship and Essential Skills qualifications.

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Alex, who is dyslexic, was a kitchen porter before opting to become an apprentice chef two years ago and works with his father, Stephen, who is catering manager.

“I am passionate about cooking and what’s good about the apprenticeship is that I am learning new skills while working,” he said. “My ambition is to become a head chef.

“The combination of having trainers helping me with both my cooking and maths skills is a powerhouse.” 

Iain opted to become an apprentice chef after being made redundant from a food factory three years ago and has no regrets about his career switch. “I love cooking different foods and my ultimate ambition is to own a taco truck,” he said.

“I have learnt so much through my apprenticeship which has improved my cooking skills, essential skills and my career. There is no better feeling than having an instructor say your food is amazing.

“I wasn’t a good learner in school, but I thoroughly enjoy the way you learn with an apprenticeship.”

Alex Deacon and Iain Sturdy with Donna Heath and Will Richards from Cambrian Training

Another graduate was David Moore, 62, from Newport, who has switched careers from a chef to golf associate, supporting visiting golfers to The Celtic Collection. He has completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Hospitality and is considering progressing to an Apprenticeship.

Having spent 36 years as a chef in the Newport and Cardiff areas, he loves meeting people which prompted his career change.

“I  enjoyed doing my apprenticeship with Cambrian Training who allowed me to learn at my own pace,” said David, who is dyslexic. “It was nice to be recognised and to shake hands with one of the bosses at Cambrian Training on stage at the graduation ceremony.”

Rob Hookham, Cambrian Training’s business development and operations officer, said: “David is a people person and one of the more mature apprentices that I have inducted at The Celtic Collection. His graduation is testament to his commitment to learning and that apprenticeships are open to anyone between the ages of 16 and 66.”