Shropshire Star

Training expert awarded OBE

A leading figure in the work-based learning has received an OBE for his services to education from Prince William in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Arwyn Watkins and his wife Vicky outside Buckingham Palace

Arwyn Watkins, managing director of Cambrian Training Company based in Welshpool, talked with the Prince about his time as a search and rescue helicopter pilot in Wales.

Mr Watkins said he met some incredible people during the day receiving honours for a range of achievements.

During his brief conversation with Mr Watkins, the Duke of Cambridge spoke about the Cambrian Mountains in the Heart of Wales, how much he had enjoyed being based in Wales as a Search and Rescue helicopter pilot and the importance of apprenticeships.

Mr Watkins, from Llanfair Caereinion was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Vicky and sons, Cai and Zac. From Buckingham Palace, they travelled to the House of Lords for lunch with his mentor Lord Ted Rowlands, former president of the National Training Federation for Wales.

He joined Cambrian Training Company nearly 20 years ago and is a former chairman and chief executive of the National Training Federation for Wales where he worked in partnership with Welsh Government and the network to shape the successful work-based learning programmes delivered in Wales today.

He is a board member of the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership for West and Mid Wales, a trustee of the British Food Trust, president of the Culinary Association of Wales and a member of the WorldChefs’ Feed the Planet and Sustainability Committee.

The training company won the Apprenticeship Provider of the Year at the 2007 and 2012 Apprenticeship Awards Cymru together with a series of other accolades. It employs more than 120 staff and sub-contractors.

Mr Watkins was instrumental in running pilot programmes in Wales leading to ground-breaking craft-led apprenticeship frameworks for chefs.