Walter Smith Fine Foods scoops National Apprenticeship Award

Walter Smith Fine Foods scoops National Apprenticeship Award

Walter Smith Fine Foods Limited,  based in Birmingham, was last night revealed as the Medium Employer of the Year 2013 in the National Apprenticeship Awards at a ceremony at the NEC.

Walter Smith

L-R: Martin Lander, Stuart Wilson, Peter Walkden, Paul Cadman, Bill Jermey.

 

The Awards, now in their tenth year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

The company was chosen as the winner in recognition of its commitment to developing local young people through Apprenticeships. Established in 1885 as Walter Smith Butchers, the company has a long heritage of training young butchers. In the last five years the company has taken on 50 apprentices which has translated to substantial business growth. It has also spurred on other staff members to improve their own skills and gain qualifications that recognise their high levels of skill and knowledge.

On accepting the award, Paul Cadman, HR director, said: “Apprenticeships bring myriad benefits to our business. By training apprentices on and off the job we are able to mould and shape them in the ways we want and need them to behave. They become Walter Smith people who know our business and all of our shop managers were once apprentices themselves.

“We’re now leading an employer ownership of skills project in the industry, which if approved will enable us to recruit and train apprentices for other independent butchers and fine food retailers. We hope this will lead to a further 250 apprentices and bring a much needed boost to high streets over the next four years.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was guest of honour at the Awards and said: “To lock in our economic recovery we need a new generation of talent entering the world of work and I am committed to making sure young people today get the opportunities they need to realise their full potential.

“Since 2010, we have created a million and a half new apprenticeships but none of that would have been possible without events like this and the support of businesses who go that extra mile to help our apprentices progress.

“I was delighted to be able to meet so many of our young apprentices and businesses from across England at the Apprenticeship Awards tonight – it is the drive and ambition that we celebrated here that will, in the years ahead, help our country and its people thrive.”

Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock said: “Apprenticeships deliver for employers, young people, adults and the economy.  I congratulate the winners and finalists at the National Apprenticeship Awards.

“They represent the very best of employers and apprentices in this country and set a hugely positive example for other individuals and organisations to follow.

“I want a system that works for businesses as well as learners. These awards demonstrate this and I am pleased to see so many learners, businesses and partners showing their commitment to Apprenticeships.”

To view the full list of award winners and finalists or for more information about Apprenticeships, please visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

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