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Home-nurtured apprentices helping maintain Harbourmaster Hotel’s high reputation

A strong commitment to apprenticeships has enabled an independently owned hotel, bar and restaurant on the Mid Wales coast to maintain a workforce of 40 highly trained and motivated staff.

General Manager Dai Morgan (seated left) with Cambrian Training’s Head of Hospitality Chris Bason and Training Officer Hazel Thomas and apprentices Ioan Davies, Zak Pegg, Ynyr Lloyd Jones, Steffan Walker and Megan Hawkins.

Gwesty’r Harbourmaster Hotel at Aberaeron, which has 13 luxury boutique style rooms, is focused on providing a high standard of customer care and visitor experience to maintain its excellent reputation across the UK.

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The hotel currently has 11 apprentices, has trained 20 over the past five years and plans to recruit more in the future. Learning provider Cambrian Training delivers a BIIAB Foundation Apprenticeship Level 2, Apprenticeships in Professional Cookery Level 2 and Level 3 with opportunities to progress to the AAA Craft Cuisine, Hospitality Supervision and Leadership Level 3 and Hospitality Management Level 4.

Now the hotel has been shortlisted for the Small Employer of the Year Award at next month’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.

Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious awards, which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales, Newport on October 24.


The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

The Harbourmaster is trying to overcome a hospitality industry skills shortage by growing its own skilled staff using the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programme.

Adopting an inclusive recruitment policy, the hotel has also developed links with Aberaeron Comprehensive School and Coleg Ceredigion to identify potential staff.

“We take pride in the fact that we nurture home-grown staff to reach their potential whilst working within their home county where they contribute to the local economy,” said General Manager Dai Morgan.

“It has been our aim from the outset to develop a strong team at the Harbourmaster and this has been possible as a result of the apprenticeship opportunities.

“On-the-job training is a valuable asset to any business as it enables the learner to develop skills and knowledge whilst working. It has been noticeable that staff members on the Apprenticeship Programme have shown improvement in their work, a better commitment to the job and a mature confidence in their dealings with hotel guests.”

Chris Bason, Cambrian Training’s Head of Hospitality, said: “The Harbourmaster Hotel exemplifies how being committed to an apprenticeship programme can bring success to an organisation.”

Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated The Harbourmaster and all the other shortlisted finalists.

“Our Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need,” he said.

“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.”