Alastair Roberts-Jones, Foundation Apprentice of the Year award winner at Cambrian Training Company’s Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards.

Food service business Compass Group UK & Ireland (@compassgroupuk) completed a notable hat-trick at the annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards organised by one of Wales’ top training companies.

The company and its employees celebrated three awards at the virtual event which recognised employers and learners who have excelled in apprenticeship, skills and employment training programmes delivered by Cambrian Training Company, Wales’ leading apprenticeships provider in the hospitality sector.

Compass Group UK & Ireland won the Macro Employer of the Year award, while catering manager Stewart Wooles and chef Alastair Roberts-Jones, both employees of Compass’ defence sector, ESS, who work at RRC Crickhowell, won the Apprentice of the Year and Foundation Apprentice of the Year awards respectively.

Providing clear career and skills development progression through apprenticeship roadmaps from Level 2 to Senior Manager Degree Level 7, Compass Group UK & Ireland offers 31 different apprenticeship programmes.

For Compass Cymru, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, the Apprenticeship Career Progression roadmaps have been designed and implemented in partnership with The Celtic Collection – a group of leading hotels and ICC Wales in South Wales - and are delivered by Cambrian Training Company.

Compass Cymru is collaborating with celebrity chef Bryn Williams, creating a cutting-edge culinary training programme designed to build skills and grow the knowledge of apprentices. Launched in April, Compass Cymru has committed to creating 50 apprenticeship opportunities this year.

Compass Cymru Managing Director, Jane Byrd, said:

“We couldn’t be happier at Compass Cymru to have won these three awards. Huge congratulations go to Alastair and Stewart for their exceptional work. This really is well-deserved recognition not only for them, but for our apprenticeship programme.

“This is a big step in our promise to provide apprenticeships for the next generation of the Welsh hospitality industry.”

Alastair, who ventured into catering late in his career, says his Foundation Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery has been life changing.

“I have learnt so many new skills and techniques, which has made me love every single minute of my journey,” said Alastair, who has progressed to an Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery. 

“I am now training junior members of the team to fill my old position and then looking to take over my role, so that I can continue to progress through the ranks and make my career change a perfect outcome.”

Completing his Apprenticeship Professional Cookery has generated a thirst for learning in catering manager Stewart who encourages chefs in his team to follow in his footsteps.  

“I have developed new skills and learnt new cooking methods that I can take into my role to help progress my team,” explained Stewart. “The apprenticeship has given me the confidence and skills to excel in my current position and made me realise the importance of developing junior members of my team.”

Throughout the pandemic, Stewart has worked at different sites where the Army has been deployed, providing a service to the serving soldiers.  He and his team have received a commendation.

Fifteen finalists were shortlisted for awards in eight categories. To be nominated, employers and learners must be engaged with programmes delivered by Cambrian Training Company. With offices in Welshpool, Holyhead, Colwyn Bay, Llanelli and Llanelwedd, the company delivers work-based apprenticeships pan-Wales.

Winners of each category will have the chance to be put forward for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which are jointly organised by the National Training Federation for Wales and the Welsh Government.

Katy Godsell, Cambrian Training Company’s marketing manager, said:

“These awards celebrate the achievements of those who have exceeded expectations during their engagement and commitment to their apprenticeship training and skills programmes.”

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

Picture caption:

Alastair Roberts-Jones, Foundation Apprentice of the Year award winner at Cambrian Training Company’s Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards.

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