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Wales celebrates success in UK training awards; ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE - LEARNING: Top accolades for organisations and individuals.

WELSH winners are celebrating this week after achieving success in the UK Training Awards, the UK's number one accolade for organisations and individuals who have decided to improve their chances of success through learning new skills.

At the ceremony for Wales's finalists five awards were made for success at the national level of the competition, with two of the Wales winners also going on to receive UK awards at the glittering event.

Individuals and organisations in Wales have wholeheartedly embraced the concept of lifelong learning and training. Wales's entries for the UK Training Awards 2001 have seen an increase of 35pc on last year's figure, compared with a 13pc rise in entries across the UK as a whole.

The Wales awards ceremony paid tribute to the record number of Welsh entrants for this year's awards, which recognise excellence in training and development across the UK's four nations.

National winners Mid and West Wales Fire Brigade, Swansea After a number of incidents locally and nationally, Mid and West Wales Fire Brigade decided it needed to change its training procedures for handling backdraught and flashover fires. It responded to this requirement by designing and implementing an intensive training programme that measured students' achievements in both theoretical and practical sessions. This brigade is only one of a handful doing this type of training.

Aran Hall School Aran Hall is an independent residential special school for young people aged 11 to 19 who have learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. Three years ago it was struggling to cope with staff shortages and decreasing numbers of children attending the school.

A training-needs analysis was conducted and a new training and development plan was introduced to address the issues raised. This has seen 17 members of staff completing their level II NVQ, 11 staff members have gained level III and six staff members have gained City and Guild D32/22 award. The school roll has increased and staff turnover has seen a dramatic reduction.

Gilesports Sports retail is a highly competitive sector. In this environment Gilesports has managed to maintain growth and progressively expand the business. Initially this resulted in a shortage of skilled management staff as expansion had outstripped the pace at which staff were acquiring new skills. A comprehensive scheme, called Succession Plan, was set up to identify those individuals who had the potential to take on a supervisory or management role.

The results led to 30 out of 34 candidates receiving a promotion and staying with the company, as well as raising the profile of the training function within the business.

UK winners Beverley O'Connell Beverley O'Connell has undertaken an arduous journey from a care worker to manager of a specialist group home in four years.

She has continually found avenues to increase her knowledge and has actively sought out training to help her make the transition to manager. While undertaking a wide variety of training, she also balanced her role as a mother of two young children, demonstrating tremendous determination to achieve her goals.

Linda Lavender Realising that her lack of attention to academic success was impeding her development and potential, Linda Lavender planned her personal learning programme to fit as closely as possible with the needs of the retail organisation within which she worked. She looked at internal and external learning available and assessed this against her goals and her personal and professional commitments. She has improved her skills and knowledge of her organisation and the issues affecting it. She has also acquired skills to train and develop other members of staff.

Her achievements have far outweighed her original learning programme.

As UK winners, Linda and Beverley will now be invited to the UK ceremony hosted by Estelle Morris, Secretary of State for Education and Skills, at London's Theatre Royal on December 11. At the event, special awards will be made to organisations and individuals who have achieved something truly outstanding through workplace learning.

If you think training has helped the success of your business or personal goals then the UK Training Awards offer a unique chance to be recognised.

If you believe you could compete with the best in training, entries from Wales are already being invited for the UK Training Awards 2002.

For more details call 0800 917 7337 or visit the website www.NationalTrainingAwards. c om

CAPTION(S):

ACHIEVERS: Paralympics champion Tanni Grey-Thompson, centre, with national and UK winners of the UK Training Awards 2001, from left, Phil Bailey of Mid and West Wales Fire Brigade, Beverley O'Connell (nee Wade), host Sara Edwards, Linda Lavender, representing Gilesports, and Mark Ferguson of Aran Hall School
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 14, 2001
Words:765
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