Training company seeking new business opportunities following HQ move

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Managing director and chairman Arwyn Watkins outside Cambrian Training Company’s new headquarters in Welshpool.

An award-winning training company is looking for new business opportunities on both sides of the Welsh border after moving to impressive new headquarters in Welshpool.

Cambrian Training Company has centralised its business operations at the 1,100 square feet Ty Cambrian, Unit 10, Offa’s Dyke Business Park where it has plenty of room to grow in the future.

Managing director and chairman Arwyn Watkins is keen to use the new base as a springboard to capture new business opportunities, particularly following the introduction of Trailblazer apprenticeships in England.

Looking out from his office over the Severn Valley towards Welshpool and the Shropshire border, he said: “Ty Cambrian gives the company an exciting opportunity for expansion across the border into England, which is right on our doorstep.

“For certain aspects of our business we have a better synergy with England than we do with any part of Wales. Sometimes we need to look towards the east rather than always to the west.”

Trailblazer apprenticeships are designed to put employers in the driving seat with purchasing power, increase the quality of apprenticeships and simplify the system. The Government has set a target of three million new start apprenticeships in England by 2020.

Trailblazers are groups of employers in common sectors who rewrite the apprenticeship standards for job roles in their sector. The new standards will gradually replace the existing frameworks that current apprenticeships are based on.

Wales, which has a better apprenticeship success rate than England, has decided not to change the way apprenticeships are delivered.

Under a Trailblazer apprenticeship, the employer has a direct relationship with the training company it wishes to engage. The success of the training programme is audited with an independent end test or assessment.

“It’s much more of an open market, business to business arrangement and employers will be looking to reduce any risk by going for quality,” said Mr Watkins, former chairman of the National Training Federation for Wales. “They will be looking for training companies with a proven track record of success and with a background of being open to external audit.

“Cambrian Training Company is a business that is used to the end test and it’s not something that frightens us.”

He is keen for the company to examine the potential to deliver training programmes to the supply chain of its existing clients in Wales and to become an assessment centre for training qualifications, which will be in demand for Trailblazer apprenticeships.

“There could well be opportunities where businesses in England will be able to contract directly with us,” he added. “When you consider all the businesses that we work with in Wales, there is a potential opportunity to be exposed to their supply chain through business to business referrals.”

Cambrian Training Company, which employs 51 staff across Wales, won the Apprenticeship Provider of the Year at the 2007 and 2012 Apprenticeship Awards and was runner up for the Provider Award for Partnership Working last year.

The company’s core activity is the delivery of apprenticeship programmes and Jobs Growth Wales opportunities for the Welsh Government.