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Six Welsh businesses presented with prestigious careers support awards

Careers Wales announced the six winners of their Valued Partner Awards 2022 at an awards ceremony in Cardiff on Tuesday 8 November.

The winners of each category were announced live and in-person for the first time since 2019, by the event host, DJ and presenter, Huw Stephens.

These highly anticipated awards are a chance for Careers Wales to recognise employers who have delivered impactful and engaging careers experiences to pupils in Wales over the last twelve months.

Careers Wales works with schools and employers across the country to facilitate employer engagement activity, from high-impact regional careers fairs through to individual school activities, so young people are informed about the world of work, priority sectors and their career options.

Since January 2022, almost 1000 activities have been facilitated, including site visits, mock interviews and presentations.

So far this year, 91% of young people who attended an employer engagement event said they felt more informed about their career opportunities and 80% were more motivated to make decisions about their future.*

Nikki Lawrence, Chief Executive at Careers Wales, said: “It is with immense pride that we announce the winners of the Valued Partner Awards this year.

“We had a very high calibre of nominations, and it has been such a pleasure to highlight the invaluable impact made when employers and schools come together in partnership.

“The awards enable us to thank businesses for inspiring, motivating and empowering pupils with work-related knowledge and experiences that will help guide them to shape their futures.

“On behalf of myself and everyone at Careers Wales, congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to continuing our vital work with them.”

Here are all six winners in their categories:

Most Supportive Work Experience Employer Award: Scooby’s Autos, Caerphilly

Owner David Pearce has provided fantastic opportunities for young people through work experience. Providing ‘real work’ tasks, supporting pupils’ development and giving them a safe space to learn has enabled them to flourish.

David said: “I didn’t expect to win the award, but I’m really pleased.

“I think it’s really important for pupils to get real experience of the job and everyday life in work and see if it’s what they want to do. It’s all about giving them a chance.”

Most Innovative Support for Schools Award: Viridor, Wales-wide

Viridor have hosted a huge range of activities in twelve different schools across the country, providing a range of activities including careers carousels, STEM (science, technology, environment and maths) assemblies and options sessions.

Eamonn Scullion, Visitor Centre and Community Benefits Officer at Viridor said: “It’s a really great honour to have received an award like this.

“Part of that work that we do with schools is around raising pupils’ awareness of the kinds of high-tech scientific processes that transform their waste into electricity, and providing pupils with a clear roadmap for working in high-tech industries which are quite local to them.”

Most Supportive Small Business Award: Litegreen, Wrexham

Partnering with Ysgol y Grango, Litegreen have supported a huge number of pupils through a wealth of activities, developed resources to support pupils with additional learning needs and company director David has provided insight into his personal career journey.

Shanone Towers and David Walker are the two directors of Litegreen. Shanone said: “We’re really pleased to win this award – even the nomination just felt really rewarding as we take our work with schools very seriously.”

David added: “I like to think that when we do a mock interview, or just have a chat with a pupil, that they leave with just a little bit more confidence about their own set of skills and the things that they can do.”

Outstanding Personal Contribution Award: Jacquie Gower, JCP Solicitors, Swansea

Jacqui Gower from JCP Solicitors, has shown unwavering dedication to supporting young people in their community, spearheading partnerships with not one, but two local schools, and organising, entire packages of career activities, designed around specific school needs.

Jacqui said: “It feels amazing to win the award.

“I find students often think that the only route to work in a law firm is to go to university and stay on and do postgrad but there loads of different routes in.

“I love going out to schools and letting them know all the different roles they can have in a law firm and how they can get there.”

Best Ongoing Relationship with a School: Future Valleys Construction, Merthyr Tydfil

Future Valleys are dedicated to supporting pupils at Greenfield Special School, providing bespoke workshops to students between years nine and thirteen and working closely with the school to address pupils’ different needs and provide positive outcomes.

Martin Gallimore, Visitor Centre and Community Benefits Officer at Future Valleys Construction said: “We’re really pleased to have won the award.

“All the engagement that we do really seems to have an impact on the pupils we work with.

“That’s what keeps us going and keeps us wanting to do more and more with them.”

Best Newcomer: Charles Owen, Wrexham

Charles Owen have already hosted an array of activities with numerous schools including mentoring interviews, enterprise days and an apprenticeship talk. They encourage staff across the organisation to support events and are now partnered with Ysgol Y Grango.

Anna Phillips, Head of HR at Charles Owen, said: “We’re really pleased to win the award – we really wanted to reach out to our community and help the younger generation.

“There are more roles in manufacturing than just in the factory and it’s nice for young people to see all the other opportunities available to them.”