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‘Master Craftsperson’ qualification in development

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Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.56.19IN AN ATTEMPT to boost higher level skills in advanced manufacturing and engineering, the Welsh Government is urging employers to adopt a brand new qualification. 

Employer-led skills expert Semta and College Wales have been appointed by the Welsh government to plan the development of a Master Craftsperson qualification, which will contribute to improving performance in advanced manufacturing and engineering, a sector essential for Wales’ prosperity.

Apprenticeship frameworks across the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors in Wales are developed and issued by Semta, who began to undertake a survey of employers on Monday, July 11, to help influence the qualification. Upon the survey’s conclusion, the Welsh government will receive recommendations from Semta with the hope of running a pilot in the autumn. If it succeeds, the initiative could be rolled out across the UK.

Since the Middle Ages, the title Master Craftsman has been in use in Europe. Those wishing to earn the title began by serving a formal apprenticeship to a Master, gaining experience through a Journeyman period and concluding with a final assessment before earning the accolade. The skills required to earn the medieval decoration are not that different from those involved in the process of becoming a European Master Craftsperson today.

Semta represents around 6,000 employers in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector in Wales. Chief Executive of Semta, Ann Watson, said: “While the work was agreed prior to the European referendum, the decision to leave has made home grown skills even more important.

“Master Craftsperson is a holistic qualification which shows the candidate not only has the technical abilities but the coaching, mentoring and managerial skills to drive a business forward.

“Over the next few weeks we will be asking employers for their input. We want them to tell us their needs and help to build the qualification they want to enhance higher level skills,” she said.

“Master Craftsperson is a means of ensuring managers and mentors are positively influencing young people who are the future of the companies with skills that are fit-for-purpose in highly competitive marketplaces.”

In European countries driven by demand from employers, customers and legislation, there is a significant take up of the Master Craftsperson qualification. In Germany there is a legal framework around the requirement to obtain the qualification for employers and leaders, and in 2010/11, the qualification was earned by 93,357 German people.

During the same period of time, Austria trained 3,536 for the qualification. A legal framework similar to that in Germany exists in Switzerland, and in 2009, 14,852 people qualified.

Research has revealed that, in the countries who have adopted a legal framework for the accreditation of Master Craftsperson, the following areas of competence must be proven: management (HR, finance, economics, etc.), skills transfer (coaching, mentoring, teaching, etc.), and sector specific occupational competence (knowledge, understanding and vocational skills). Evidence of a minimum period of post-qualification experience within the required role must also be provided.

“We face a future outside the European Union, albeit hopefully with strong trade links and relationships maintained, but this is an opportunity for Wales to lead the way in developing a new qualification to suit its needs and benefit the wider UK economy, as has happened in countries which have adopted their own Master Craftsperson frameworks,” Ann Watson added.

For more information about the programme, employers should contact Paul Morgan, Sector Development Specialist for Wales via email at paul.morgan@semta.org.uk or call Customer Services on 0845 643 9001.

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Police release new CCTV image of murder suspect

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has released a new CCTV image of Steve Baxter, who detectives are keen to speak to in connection with the murder of Simon Clark from Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

The image was captured in Glynneath on Saturday, September 29. He is believed to have traveled to the west Wales area shortly afterwards and is believed to be in the Haverfordwest area.

Baxter, also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He is bald, but was last seen wearing a hat and wig, as shown in this image. He may have made other attempts to alter his appearance such as growing facial hair or wearing glasses.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “We’re releasing this CCTV image from the latest confirmed sighting of Steve Baxter to give people the most up to date example of how he may be dressed and how he may currently look.

“Time is passing and we really need to speak to Steve Baxter to build a more accurate picture of what happened in Pendine.

“To anyone that may know where he is, please pass this vital information to police.”

The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to Steve Baxter being found. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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David Davies Llandinam show comes to Tregaron

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THERE will be a special opportunity for the people of Tregaron to learn about one of Wales’ most successful industrialists, David Davies Llandinam with a performance by the drama company “Mewn Cymeriad”.

To celebrate David Davies’ link with the area, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Cymdeithas Hanes Tregaron and Clwb Plant Capel Bwlchgwynt have organised a performance of the family friendly show “David Davies Llandinam”.

David Davies was born in Llandinam, Montgomeryshire but he had an influence across Wales. He built railways across the country including the Manchester and Milford Railway that connected Tregaron with Aberystwyth and Carmarthen by using a huge amount of Cardiganshire wool to lay the rails across Cors Caron.

In addition to being an astoundingly successful entrepreneur, David Davies Llandinam was the MP for Cardiganshire between 1874 and 1886. Nine years previously, he stood against one of Tregaron’s hero, Henry Richard to be the local Liberal Party candidate for the 1865 Election.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Culture, “The history of David Davies Llandinam is very interesting. It’s wonderful to see organisations coming together to put on this show in Tregaron and Mewn Cymeriad following this character’s fascinating story.”

Mewn Cymeriad is a drama company that travels across Wales to present one actor shows full of fun and excitement to children about historic characters such as Barti Ddu, the Lord Rhys, Hedd Wyn and Owain Glyndŵr. The David Davies show was written by Mewn Cymeriad’s founder Eleri Twynog Davies and the show is performed by the actor Ioan Hefin who has starred in programmes such as Hidden, Gwaith Cartref and Teulu.

The free show of David Davies Llandinam will be shown at Bwlchgwynt Vestry, Tregaron on Monday, 29 October at 7pm. Come to see the actor Ioan Hefin present a lively and interactive show about the man who brought the train to Tregaron. It is an interactive show that is aimed towards children aged 6 to 11 however it is suitable for the whole family.

For further Information, contact Steffan Rees, Cered’s Community Development Officer on 01545 572 350.

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Visit to inspect new Active Travel works held

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SUSTRANS CYMRU director, Steve Brooks visited recent work to the Aberystwyth Active Travel Network on 26 September. The network of pedestrian, cycling and general accessibility improvements has been developed in partnership with the Welsh Government and Sustrans.

Mr Brooks met with Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services and the Council’s Sustainability Champion, as well as Council Officers. During the visit they discussed the work carried out so far and future work to improve the Active Travel Network in Ceredigion.

Councillor Williams praised the work undertaken to date, “It was a pleasure to meet with Sustrans colleagues and County Council officers. The excellent work that the County Council has done so far in Aberystwyth was showcased, with the aim of encouraging children to cycle, scoot and walk to school. The improvements do of course benefit everyone in the community by helping to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles whilst reducing traffic congestion and we had a useful discussion about further developing active travel initiatives across the whole of Ceredigion.”

Three towns in Ceredigion have been designated as Active Travel Settlements under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013. The Council carried out a public consultation during 2017 to identify and prioritise future improvements. As a result, walking and cycling routes are being improved incrementally through various Welsh Government grants as funding permits and subject to physical constraint.

Steve Brooks said, “Plascrug Primary is one of many schools in Ceredigion where Sustrans’ Active Journeys Programme is delivered and it’s great to see the positive difference made at these locations, in conjunction with improved routes and new scooter and cycle shelters installed by the County Council following successful grant funding from the Welsh Government. The Programme includes classroom activities where pupils can help influence future grant bids and also embraces a range of engaging activities which helps to build the confidence, enthusiasm and skills needed to help form new active travel habits. These activities and lessons support schools’ efforts in achieving Eco-Schools and Healthy Schools awards as well as working towards Sustrans School Mark award which recognises excellence in sustainable travel.”

The Council is also improving active travel opportunities outside these three settlements, such as near schools, employment sites and key tourism destinations.

Image: Left to Right: Sioned Lewis, Sustrans Cymru; Plascrug Primary School Pupils; Councillor Alun Williams; Steve Brooks, Sustrans Cymru; Gari Jones, Ceredigion County Council.

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