Matthew with award

Last year’s winner encourages VQ Awards nominations before March 2 deadline

A winner of a Vocational Qualification (VQ) Award in 2017 is encouraging employers, learners and trainers across Wales to submit their entries for this year’s awards before the March 2 closing date.

Matthew Booth collected the VQ Trainer of the Year while his employer, Electroimpact UK Ltd, an aerospace engineering business based in Hawarden, won the VQ Employer of the Year last year.

This year, Matthew, the company’s UK manufacturing lead, is one of the judges for the awards and he’s keen that employers, learners and trainers take the time to enter.

“I think the awards are important for employers and individuals because they are recognition for the work you are doing,” he said. “From Electroimpact UK’s point of view, it was a platform to showcase the company and the training it provides.

“Personally, I was chuffed and honoured to be recognised for something that I am very passionate about.”

Matthew, from Brymbo near Wrexham, began his career as an apprentice toolmaker 21 years ago and undertook training while developing his career. He has also gained his EngTech accreditation though IMechE and has also worked with SEMTA, a body promoting STEM subjects in the UK, to develop a Master Craftsman qualification, which aims to drive up higher level skills and performance.

He is currently working towards the Master Craftsperson qualification in advanced engineering – the first person in Wales to sign up – with Coleg Cambria.

Investment in work-based learning has helped Electroimpact UK Ltd grow its workshop by 50 per cent more than planned and has led to national and international awards for its skilled apprentices.

The company immersed its employees in the opportunities provided by vocational qualifications six years ago and Matthew completed a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Leadership so that he could lead by example before introducing the training to apprentices and employees.

The company, which was an Apprenticeship Awards Cymru finalist last year, currently has three machine room apprentices working towards vocational qualifications.

Now in their 11th consecutive year, the VQ Awards offer individuals and organisations, who have used technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success, the chance to be recognised and rewarded for their commitment, hard work and achievements.

Categories include Employer of the Year, Learner of the Year (Intermediate), Learner of the Year (Higher) and Trainer of the Year.

Finalists, selected by a judging panel, will be invited to the awards ceremony at The Exchange Hotel, Cardiff on May 3 to coincide with VQ Day. For more information and to download a nomination form please visit https://www.vqday.wales

In addition to the award ceremony, learning providers across Wales are being encouraged to organise regional events that engage with learners of all ages on VQ Day.

Vocational qualifications are important to the economy, companies and individuals, as they deliver the trained, talented employees that businesses are crying out for and ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed in education and work.

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan encouraged learners, employers and trainers not to miss the nomination deadline.

“A VQ award is a symbol of dedication towards a chosen profession, demonstrating to others a real commitment towards personal and professional development,” she said. “The awards help us to celebrate those Welsh employers, learners and trainers who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.”

The awards are organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru/ CollegesWales and Qualifications Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Picture caption:
Matthew Booth is encouraging VQ Awards entries.

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