National Training and Apprenticeship Cymru Awards

NTfW award winnersBrains was last night (24th October) named ‘Large Employer of the Year’ (apprenticeship category) at the National Training and Apprenticeship Cymru Awards 2012, held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno.

The awards, organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), are designed to recognise the outstanding achievements of all those involved in Investors in People, Apprenticeship and all other work-based learning programmes across Wales.

Brains was one of 28 finalists, including BT, GE Aviation Wales and Airbus UK, across nine awards.


S.A Brain and Co Ltd is a brewer and retailer employing more than 2,200 employees throughout Wales and the South West of England, of which 105 are apprentices.

With employees in pubs, hotels and restaurants, and more recently the company acquired Coffee#1, the company has a diverse range of vocations where it provides opportunities for apprenticeships.

"Apprenticeships were established within the business to help develop our people in line with the company’s vision," said Susan Harvey, Head of HR.

"The apprenticeship programme was identified as an important tool to help us meet the need to develop managers and teams for the future and to meet the needs of our acquisition and refurbishment plans. It also helps to us retain our current employees and encourage development and transfers within the company, lessening the impact of the transient nature of our industry."

Brains provides a range of apprenticeship frameworks, from diplomas in food and beverage, NVQ certificates in customer services and kitchen services, to diplomas in hospitality supervision and leadership skills.

The company has its own Centre of Excellence development kitchen within the Cardiff Brewery where six workstations replicate the equipment of pub kitchens, allowing apprentices and staff to develop skills which might not be practical within their own outlet.

The company, which has taken on 375 apprentices in the past five years, also provides online learning support to all of its employees to help achieve recognised qualifications in Health and Safety and Food Hygiene.