VQ Awards Trainer of the Year finalist Mark Shaw of Coleg Cambria , Deeside,  with Syrie Jones at the Three Eagles, Llangollen

Tailored education and training to support individual journey success

Going the extra mile to deliver training and support to learners has led to North Wales trainer Mark Shaw being named as a finalist in the prestigious Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards 2019.

The very best trainers go the extra mile in support of their learners; Mark also goes that extra hour, often working late at night to ensure that regular night shift workers have the same access to training and development as day workers.

At Coleg Cambria, Mark is an assessor in Food Manufacturing and Catering & Hospitality and believes quality training to individual needs is the key to successfully developing learners. To understand their needs, Mark has put himself through industrial placements in restaurants and undertaken specialist courses in carcass preparation, butchery knife skills, cheese and ice cream manufacture and food auditing and inspection.

Mark has also embraced technology, sourcing online tutorials on cooking techniques for learners to study and replicate. In addition, he has worked on a food costing workbook, helping junior chefs and front of house staff work on costings, gross and net profits and the impact of food waste on the bottom line.

His efforts have been recognised as a finalist in the Trainer of the Year category of this year’s VQ Awards, which are designed to reward individuals and organisations for their commitment, hard work and achievements.

Coleg Cambria Assistant Principal Vicky Barwis, said: “Nothing is too much trouble with his learners. He has a self-deprecating style where he thinks he is only a good assessor. His learners would disagree and say he is not only good, but a great tutor.”

One of those learners is Dave Evans, low risk packing manager at Rowan Foods in Wrexham, who has worked with Mark to attain several qualifications.

“Mark has supported me with a lot of hard work and effort to help me to achieve my goals,” said Dave. “I have obtained so much knowledge through his guidance which has enabled me to respond to people in different ways, making me a better manager.”

Mark said: “It is important to understand your learners’ needs and not fit everyone into the same box. Trust is a key part of that learning journey and I do encourage my learners to embrace Welsh culture especially in the hospitality industry where Wales has some fantastic produce. To that end I am trying to learn Welsh to help me expand my skills.”

Now in their 12th year, the VQ Awards celebrate those who use technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success. A Vocational Qualification – VQ- award is a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession.

The awards help us to celebrate those Welsh learners, trainers and employers who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.

There are four award categories – VQ Learner of the Year – Intermediate, VQ Learner of the Year – Higher, VQ Trainer of the Year and VQ Employer of the Year – which encompass the spectrum of learning, training and employment.
Also shortlisted finalists in the Trainer category are Anna Bell and Louisa Mallett.

The winners will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the National Museum Cardiff on May 15. The ceremony coincides with VQ Day, which celebrates vocational achievement and the benefits of technical, practical and vocational learning to both the individual and the Welsh economy.

The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru/CollegesWales, Qualifications Wales and the Education Workforce Council. The Welsh Government’s funding has support from the European Social Fund.

Picture caption: VQ Trainer of the Year category finalist, Mark Shaw.

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