From education to employment

Award for Welsh chef who sold restaurant to start new recycling career

Cambrian Training Apprenticeship Awards 2023. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography. PB74-2023

Former chef Gerwyn Llyr Williams has swapped running his own award-winning restaurant for a new career in waste recycling, quickly being promoted to Team Manager at Bryson Recycling’s Denbigh and Ruthin sites.

His decision to change career secured him the Apprentice of the Year Award at leading Welsh work-based learning provider Cambrian Training Company’s annual Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards.

Recognising employers and learners who have excelled in apprenticeship, skills and employment training programmes delivered by Cambrian Training Company, the awards were held at The Metropole Hotel & Spa, Llandrindod Wells.

“I have really chuffed to win this award,” said Gerwyn. “Having changed my career, this award shows that I have chosen the right path and I hope to grow with the company in the future.

“I am encouraging all my workmates to do an apprenticeship because it definitely opens doors.”

Gerwyn’s transition from being a chef has been supported by an Apprenticeship in Sustainable Recycling Activities and he is now working towards a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Systems and Operations Management which he says has helped his progression.

His willingness to learn and work in different roles across the business, has seen him climb the promotion ladder since joining in 2020.

Bryson Recycling describes Gerwyn as an asset who has contributed to improving the company’s recycling rate and reducing the amount of materials going to landfill.

“After many years in the catering industry, I was ready for a new challenge and sold my business at the end of 2019,” added Gerwyn who opened a restaurant in Betws-y-Coed after working as a chef in North Wales and London. He still works part-time as a chef.

“When I started my new role, it was a new challenge being out of my comfort zone, especially having been working for myself for six years. What I have learnt on my apprenticeships has helped prepare me for being a team leader and setting up the new sites to meet company procedures and build a good, safe workforce.”

John Franks, Bryson Recycling’s Site Manager, said it didn’t take the company long to realise that Gerwyn would be a great asset.

“Gerwyn has taken great strides within the company since coming to work for us during a very testing time for everyone just before the Covid outbreak,” he added. “As he came to us with no knowledge of waste, it is a credit to him that he picked up the understanding of recycling very quickly.”

Faith O’Brien, Cambrian Training Company’s Managing Director, congratulated Gerwyn and all the other award winners and finalists. “You have worked hard to get to where you are today and you should be proud of your accomplishments,” she said.

“You have invested your time and energy into learning your craft and your efforts have paid off. You have not only gained valuable knowledge and skills, but you have also earned the respect and admiration of your peers and colleagues.

“The knowledge and skills you have gained are just the beginning. There is always more to learn and new challenges to overcome. I encourage you to continue to push yourself, seek out new opportunities and strive for excellence.”

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

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