AN ambition to be the best in its sector encouraged a West Wales catering butchery and meat processing company to establish an in-house training academy to grow its own skilled workers.

Celtica Foods, a division of Welsh independent food service wholesaler Castell Howell Foods based in Cross Hands, near Llanelli, has trained 45 apprentices over the past four years and currently has 17 on its books.

The company, which has a workforce of 75, supplies meat to independent pubs and restaurants, hospitality groups, contract caterers, hospitals and schools.

Now Celtica Foods has been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. The company will be competing to become Medium Employer of the Year category at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on November 9.

The annual awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship Programmes.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are supported by media partner, Media Wales. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Thirty star employers, learners and learning providers from across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

Learning provider Cambrian Training Company worked with Celtic Foods to develop the company’s academy to attract more young people into the meat sector and upskill the entire workforce.

Programmes ranging from Foundation Apprenticeships to Higher Apprenticeships in
Meat and Poultry Industry Skills, Food Industry Skills and Food Manufacturing Excellence are delivered. Training programmes are tailored to meet the specific needs of Celtica Foods and its customers.

“We need a diverse range of skills, from de-boning of carcase meats and burger and sausage making to fine cutting, to meet high end customer specification,” said Edward Morgan, Celtica Foods’ managing director. “Training and staff retention are important.

“For Celtica Foods to meet its aims and objectives, we recognised that we needed to approach staff training differently.”

Staff wellbeing is a priority for the company who offer confidential counselling and an occupational health therapist to workers challenged with a range of issues.

Chris Jones, Cambrian Training Company’s head of food manufacturing, said:
“Celtica Foods is highly dedicated to investing in staff development and see the Apprenticeship Programme as the perfect tool to move the business forward.”

Celtica Foods has a Food Standards Agency licenced cutting plant, is Grade ‘A’ accredited by the British Retail Consortium, PGI accredited and has achieved the IS01400 and ISO1900 environmental and quality standards.

Congratulating Celtica Foods on being shortlisted for an award, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “Apprenticeship Awards Cymru showcase the success of the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeships and Traineeships Programmes and the achievements of our star apprentices, employers, learning providers and trainees.

“Apprenticeships are a great way for individuals to gain valuable skills and experience while earning a wage and for employers to ensure their workforce has the skills to future proof a business.

“Increasing higher level skills and developing skills pathways that benefit the whole of Wales have never been more important.”

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