Awards nomination sweet news for chocolate maker

OP Chocolates in Merthyr Tydfil has been shortlisted for Large and Macro Employer of the Year Award at this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

The company began its programme three years ago, with 26 apprentices currently employed (it has recruited a total of 33 in that time).

OP Chocolates has continued its focus on apprenticeship training by partnering with Network Training Services to create more apprenticeships.

“The business is looking to improve the skills and knowledge of its entire staff. Before putting the first group on to the apprenticeship programme, very few staff had formal qualifications,” said Deborah Shaughnessy, coaching and development manager.

“Now there are seven staff with formal qualifications on the Food Industry Skills Level 2 programme and, within the next few months, another 20 staff will have completed their Level 2 and 3 qualifications.”

The awards take place at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20, and are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

‘Developing skilled people is vital for our economy’

Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated OP Chocolates and the other 32 shortlisted award finalists.

“We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent,” she said.

“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices.”