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College celebrates very first Apprenticeship Awards

College celebrates very first Apprenticeship Awards

Gower College Swansea has held its first ever awards ceremony for apprentices and employers.

The special event, hosted by BBC Wales Scrum V Live’s Ross Harries, was held to honour the outstanding commitment and dedication of the ‘best of the best’ apprentices and partner employers.

“Undertaking an apprenticeship is not an easy option - it is an achievement to be extremely proud of,” says the College’s Director of Skills and Business Development, Paul Kift.

“Apprentices are employed, often full time, whilst completing training and assessment against a nationally accredited programme designed to meet employers’ needs. Their apprenticeships can last between one and four years and during this time, they will often need to juggle work, training, study and home life in order to develop their skills and knowledge. We felt it was really important to recognise this level of commitment.”

Among the award winners were learners who have completed apprenticeships in a range of disciplines from Level 2 through to Level 4/5, which is equivalent to the first two years of a degree. Many have overcome significant barriers to achieve success, further their careers and make a significant contribution to their employer and the wider economy.

Of course, without employers there would be no apprentices! And so, three special awards were also given out to local organisations in recognition of the excellent support they provide and for the investment they make in developing the skills of new and existing talent.

Clare Borthwick was named Apprenticeship Tutor/Assessor of the Year. Clare, who works in the Electrical department, is renowned across the College for her dedication and great attention to detail. The quality of support she provides to her apprentices is exemplary and the achievement success rates for her apprentices are consistently above national benchmarks, year on year.

“The story of work based learning at Gower College Swansea over the past few years is one of which we are immensely proud,” adds Principal Mark Jones. “Back in 2015, I think that it’s fair to say that it was one of our smaller areas, with around 300 apprentices every year. Then in 2016, Swansea Council’s work based learning provision and staff were transferred to the College and, through the sharing of best practice, the provision has blossomed and grown so that now, with the continued support of Welsh Government, we work with 2,500 apprentices every year.

"These apprentices are based with employers not just in Swansea and the South West Wales region, but also across Wales and into England. And as the provision has grown, our relationships with employers have strengthened and our completion rates have increased so that they are now amongst the best in the country.” 


The complete list of winners on the evening were:

  • Accountancy - Andrea Dobson                                                                      
  • Better Jobs, Better Futures - Amy Honey                                           
  • Bricklaying - Aaron Redden                                                                           
  • Business Administration - Debbie Whyte
  • Business Improvement Techniques - Ria Rees
  • Childcare - Ingrid Parker
  • Clinical Health - Carl Dunning
  • Contact Centre - Donna Griffiths
  • Customer Service - Lyndon Davies
  • Electrical Apprentice - Matt Price
  • Electronics - James Williams
  • Engineering - Jacob Williams
  • Facilities Management - Kataya Miura
  • Hairdressing - Lucy Britton
  • Housing - Connor Clarke
  • Information, Advice and Guidance - Iestyn Thomas
  • IT - Cameron Lewis
  • Laboratory and Science - Bradley Godwin
  • Leadership and Management - Elizabeth Jarvis
  • Motor Vehicle - Callum Hawkins
  • Plumbing - Mariusz Gawarecki
  • Security - Jonathan Voyzey
  • Social Care - Sue Mahoney
  • Apprenticeship Tutor/Assessor - Clare Borthwick
  • Apprentice Employer (0-49 employees) - Avia Speed Shop
  • Apprentice Employer (50-249 employees) - Aberpergwm Colliery
  • Apprentice Employer (250+ employees) - Swansea Council
  • Foundation Apprentice of the Year - Debbie Whyte
  • Apprentice of the Year - Luke Evans
  • Higher Apprentice of the Year - Donna Wright
  • Inspirational Achievement Award - Sally Hughes

Later this month the College will find out if it has won a prestigious AAC Apprenticeship Award where it is in the running in two categories - Health and Science Apprenticeship Provider of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Apprenticeships (for Curriculum Leader for Electronic Engineering Steve Williams).


Photos: Peter Price Media

Many thanks to the following departments who helped make the event such a success:

  • Our Hospitality and Catering students, led by Nicola Rees, for the wonderful buffet and refreshments.
  • The Gorseinon Campus Jazz Band, led by Simon Prothero, for providing the arrival entertainment.
  • Our Level 3 Theatre Production and Live Events students, led by Adrian Hocking, for their sterling work on the set, lighting and sound.