Building the professional capacity of its current staff whilst recruiting and training a new generation of professionals is keeping Cardiff and Vale University Health Board at the leading edge of the health sector.

The health board has been upskilling its workforce through a range of apprenticeships since 2006 but accelerated its programme through the creation of an Apprenticeship Academy in 2018. This has created nearly 900 new enrolments which includes new recruits to the sector.

This twinned approach is proving fruitful with almost two dozen apprenticeships creating opportunities for both established employees as well as newcomers to build a career, with a fresh pipeline of talent addressing the challenge to recruit and maintain staff.

Now, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has been shortlisted for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024 as a Macro Employer of the Year finalist.

Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor is EAL.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at ICC Wales, Newport on March 22, 2024. The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.

“Apprenticeships operate at varying levels and are matched to our banded roles to ensure suitability and ease of completion,” said Emma Bendle, apprenticeship and widening access co¬-ordinator.

“This gives individuals the chance to reach for the skies or jump off where they feel comfortable, promoting a more inclusive approach by meeting the needs of varying skills and abilities.”

The success of the apprenticeship programme is an organisational-wide effort and an integral part of the ‘Attract, Recruit and Retain’ theme of the People and Culture Plan, which is monitored and updated on a regular basis.

Partnerships have been crucial in delivering the large number of programmes available, with lead training provider ACT also joined by Talk Training, Educ8, ALS Training and Cardiff and Vale College working alongside the health board.

“The wide range of skills that the health board is investing in shows that it is not just focused on the delivery of key services but also improving the wider structure of the organisation and its people,” said Susan Edwards, business development manager at ACT.

“We have seen first-¬hand the progress achieved through this ambitious apprenticeship programme which is upskilling an existing workforce whilst encouraging new talent to such an important sector.”
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and all the other finalists. “Today’s apprentices will be tomorrow’s specialists, and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru allows us to recognise apprentices, work-based learning practitioners, and employers that have gone above and beyond,” he said.
“Their tenacity, passion, and commitment to growing their own careers, the careers of others, and the larger Welsh economy is inspiring. I wish each of the finalists the best of luck at the awards and with their future endeavours.”
Congratulating the finalists, Al Parkes, managing director at EAL, said: “As the specialist awarding organisation and skills partner for the engineering and manufacturing industry, apprenticeships in Wales are especially important to us.
“Apprenticeships play an important role in supporting personal progress through career opportunities and a sense of achievement, while ensuring that employers have the right skills at the right time to keep up with evolving industry needs.
“EAL is committed to encouraging employers to take on apprentices. Marking the achievements of employers, apprentices, and work-based learning practitioners at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru is vital to this.”
For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: or call 03000 603000.
Picture caption:

Emma Bendle, apprenticeship and widening access co¬-ordinator (centre) and staff and apprentices at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.