From education to employment

Apprenticeships key to the future of growing Welsh fragrances business

Immediate: February 6, 2023

A South Wales couple are enjoying the sweet scent of success due to the growth of their business, which started life in a summerhouse during the pandemic lockdown in 2020.

Bwthyn, which handmakes candles, soap and aroma reed diffusers at its shop and workshop in Cardiff Road, Caerphilly, has been so successful that owners Ruth and Alun Hancock have recently recruited two apprentices and aim to take on two more in May.

Recognising that apprenticeships will be key to the continued growth of the business, the couple shared their story to celebrate Apprenticeship Week in Wales – – from February 6-12.

The company’s distinctive products are blended and poured in small batches in its custom workshop. Bwthyn also makes bespoke fragrances for large companies and venues to enhance their businesses and promote their brands.

The Hancocks are also tapping into an export market for their products as Welsh people, who live in countries around the world, long for fragrances that reminds them of home. The company combines its products with storytelling to evoke happy memories of a sense of place in Wales.

Winners of two awards at the Caerphilly Business Awards last November, the couple are excited about what the future holds as they plan to expand into perfume and open Bwthyn outlets in boutique shopping villages across Wales.

That’s why they have recruited apprentices Eleri Page, 19 and Eve Stait, 22, who are seeking Apprenticeships in Social Media and Customer Service and Business Administration respectively, which are delivered by Educ8 Training, based in Ystrad Mynach.

Eve, who’s autistic, has been recruited with support from the Welsh Government Employer Incentive Scheme for disabled apprentices. The incentive, which is due to finish at the end of March, is designed to encourage employers to get first-hand experience of the benefits of recruiting disabled people.

Ruth, 46, who has a range of disabilities herself, said: “They are both doing amazingly well. I love to learn and know how difficult it is for young people to find a job and learn. We want to give people the opportunity to learn, grow and earn at the same time.

“Due to being disabled myself, I use special software on my laptop which I intend to make available to Eve and other future employees who may need it. I want to give them all the tools they need to succeed

“I honestly believe that apprenticeships are really important and agree with Richard Branson who says that if you look after your staff, they will look after your customers. Everybody learns and trains together at Bwthyn and we grow as a family business.”

Rhiannon Fletcher, national account manager at Educ8 Training, said: “Bwthyn is an exemplary employer which supports and nurtures its apprentices. It’s fantastic to see a small, local company using apprenticeships to grow their talent and drive their business forward.”

During Apprenticeship Week, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), a network of work-based learning providers, will be promoting the benefits of an apprenticeship to employers and individuals.

“Apprenticeships offer the perfect combination of earning and learning, allowing apprentices to continue their education and gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst working alongside experienced staff,” said Lisa Mytton, the NTfW’s strategic director. “Employers recruit apprentices to create a motivated workforce and a future pipeline of talent.”

Apprenticeships are open to everyone over the age of 16, of all abilities, and support is tailored for each apprentice. Available at four levels, there is an apprenticeship to suit every learner in 23 sectors.
Research has revealed that, over a working lifetime, those with job-specific skills will earn £100,000 more than those who are unskilled.

As part of its ‘Genius Decision’ campaign, the Welsh Government says apprenticeships help individuals accelerate their career by providing the right experience and job-specific skill and help businesses recruit in a cost-effective way.

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