Asghar congratulates three Welsh employers as VQ Awards shortlist recognises achievements

Mohammad Asghar AM, shadow Minister for Skills in the National Assembly, has congratulated three Welsh employers on being named as finalists in the prestigious Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards 2019.

 Deloitte LLP, Scarlet Knight, and St. Cyres School have succeeded to impress the judging panel and been recognised as deserving finalists in the Employer of the Year category of this year’s VQ Awards, which are designed to reward individuals and organisations for their commitment, hard work and achievements.

An innovative apprenticeship programme by Deloitte LLP has paved the way for a new generation of young people to flourish in the financial services sector in Cardiff.

Deloitte introduced a work-based learning apprenticeship programme in 2015 and, to date, 74 learners have joined a programme providing more opportunities outside of traditional accountancy-type roles to young people who may not previously have considered a career in the industry.

It is helping to change the misconception that top-level finance jobs are reserved for those with university degrees with the programme guaranteeing that successful apprentices have a permanent job in their area of work, and the opportunity to continue their vocational education.

 The company offers a range of academic and professional qualifications, including an award-winning City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration. It has also launched an open access adult employability skills programme, and has a long-running schools outreach programme.

Two former apprentices have forged a formidable husband and wife partnership that is bringing through a new generation of well-trained and qualified professionals at their successful hair and beauty business – Scarlet Knight.

Scarlet Knight puts each of its employees through apprenticeships and has gained an excellent reputation for providing high quality treatments supported by outstanding customer service for its clientele from Rhondda Cynon Taff and beyond.

Created by Charlotte and John Knight, the company has grown to 15 employees and places work-based training at the core of its business, providing six Level 2 and 3 NVQs covering the breadth of the industry.

Ambitious plans for the future include developing a team member to become an on-site assessor to accelerate on-the-job progression, and a goal to opening their own dedicated training academy to support a larger number of apprentices.

Promoting a culture of leadership amongst its teaching staff is inspiring pupils at St Cyres School in Penarth to be passionate and motivated to become their best.


St Cyres School introduced the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management for its teaching staff in 2016, leading to higher-than-average performance results involving those taking part.

The school has enrolled a total of 20 learners, with a number going on to secure promotions as a direct result of the improved knowledge and understanding gained through the programme.

Dedicated mentors are allocated to all staff undertaking the apprenticeship programme, and assessors from training provider, Portal Training, are on hand to ensure learners are fully supported throughout the process so that new skills are developed and applied effectively within the workplace.

Highlighting the importance of vocational qualifications to the economy, companies and individuals, Mohammad Asghar said:

“I send my congratulations to these employers who have been nominated and whose dedication in providing people with the skills they require has been deservedly recognised.”

The winners will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the National Museum Cardiff on May 15.