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Urdd receives St David Award for welcoming people fleeing Ukraine and Afghanistan



The youth organisation was awarded the First Minister’s Special Award in Thursday (7 April) evening’s ceremony for everything it has achieved in a century of serving young people in Wales, sustaining Welsh as a living language, and in the most recent times exemplifying the Nation of Sanctuary approach to providing sanctuary, support and safety to people fleeing Afghanistan and Ukraine.

The St David Awards, now in their 9th year, celebrate the extraordinary achievements and contributions of people in or from Wales from all walks of life.


This year’s award categories are: Bravery, Business, Community Spirit, Critical worker, Culture, Environment champion, Innovation, Science and Technology, Sport, Young person and the First Minister’s Special Award. 

Congratulating the winners, the First Minister said: “It’s fantastic to be able to award this year’s St David Awards finalists in person once again. They are an inspiring group of people who deserve to be congratulated on their contribution to Welsh life.

“Many have courageously and selflessly served others, some are trailblazers in their fields, others have worked tirelessly to protect the environment, and we are lucky to have them all living and working in Wales.

“I’m particularly delighted to publicly commend Urdd Gobaith Cymru, in its centenary year, for working so hard to provide a warm and distinctly Welsh welcome for people fleeing trauma and humanitarian disaster. The Urdd truly demonstrated the ‘Team Wales’ approach we’ve developed along with other partner organisations, in going beyond their normal role and providing a vital catalyst for our efforts to welcome individuals and families seeking sanctuary in Wales.

We are committed to being a Nation of Sanctuary, and the Urdd have been an inspiring example of what this looks like in practice.”


Urdd Gobaith Cymru provides valuable sporting and cultural opportunities to Wales’ young people. Last autumn the organisation opened up its residential centre in the shadow of the Welsh Parliament to well over 100 children and families as part of the Afghan resettlement scheme. The Urdd’s best practice is now being implemented again, through use of a residential centre to support up to 250 people arriving from Ukraine.

The list of winners of the St David Awards are:

  • Bravery: Sargeant Geraint Jenkins and PC Thomas Scourfield, South Wales Police
  • Business: Jordan Lea / Deal Me Out
  • Community Spirit: Siop Griffiths
  • Critical worker: Michelle Jones and Catherine Cooper, Landsdowne Primary School
  • Culture: Berwyn Rowlands
  • Environment champion: Low Carbon Environment Group / Cardiff University
  • Innovation, Science and Technology: Luca Pagano, Graham Howe, Peter Charlton, John Hughes and Richard Morgan (University of Wales Trinity St Davids)
  • Sport: Hannah Mills OBE
  • Young Person: Daniel Lewis
  • First Minister’s Special Award: Urdd Gobaith Cymru
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Swansea business crowned at Wales Business Awards 2022




Swansea-based Drop Bear Beer Co. is celebrating after scooping two awards at the highly anticipated Wales Business Awards 2022 last night (June 9).

The multi-award-winning brewer of 0.5% ABV craft beer, took home the awards for Green Business of the Year as well as Young Entrepreneur of the Year, at the ceremony, hosted by Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, held at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff.


Drop Bear Beer Co. Founder Joelle Drummond was crowned Young Entrepreneur of the Year, with judges saying she ‘encapsulated everything you would want to see in a young entrepreneur – creating a product and a brand with a purpose while overcoming bias.’

The company also took home the Green Business of the Year award. Judges noted that ‘sustainability is part of their DNA from the very start’ and called the company ‘a new dynamic business with a clear purpose and commitment and great beer!’.

Joelle Drummond, Director of Sales & Marketing at Drop Bear Beer Co, said: “We are elated to have won two awards: Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Green Business of the Year. As a Welsh business, to have ‘home’ recognition of our hard work and key values including sustainability is really special.”

Drop Bear Beer’s award success comes hot on the heels of news that the Swansea company’s products are to be stocked by supermarket giant Tesco.

Now in its 19th year, the awards provide SME businesses across the country with the opportunity to compete for Wales’ most prestigious accolades.


Over 180 entries from businesses from across Wales were whittled down to 10 winners across the 10 categories, plus an overall Wales Business of the Year, which went to Rhondda Cynon Taff based Penderyn Distillery.

Other winners on the night included Wales Interactive, Makefast Ltd, Purolite, Catsci Ltd, EverTrek, Aspen Waite in Wales Limited, City Hospice and Watkins & Gunn Solicitors.

Paul Slevin, President of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said: “What a night for Welsh business. There was such a buzz in the room, and it was great to see so many businesses celebrating their success and all they have done to support the Welsh economy.

“The judges had an incredibly tough time deciding on the winners for each of the categories, which just goes to show the quality of the entrants this year.

“We wanted to do things a bit differently this year, and to crown our very worthy winners at St Fagans, Wales’ most popular heritage attraction, was truly special. The event wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the support of our sponsors, to whom we’re extremely grateful.”


This year, Avast Business supported the Wales Business Awards as headline sponsor. Also supporting the awards were sponsors: University of South Wales, Welsh Government, NPTC Group of Colleges, CGI, Atradius, Euroclad Group, Aspen Waite, Metro Bank, Blake Morgan and Jardine Norton.

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Engineering and technology trailblazers including Swansea University doctor shortlisted ahead of prestigious Engineering Talent Awards




The annual Engineering Talent Awards shortlist has been released and sees big nominations for corporate leaders including Ørsted, EDF Energy, Dyson and Rolls Royce. 

The national event, taking place in London on 15 September, recognises people with a track record of breaking down barriers to succeed in the engineering and technology sectors and celebrates the organisations with a track record of promoting diversity in the workplace. 


Siemens UK, Costain Group PLC and Transport for London are among some of the biggest organisations nominated for awards with all of them in the running for their employee network groups. Meanwhile, SSE and Rolls-Royce are both shortlisted for their workplace inclusion  programmes which work towards improving diversity across the businesses. 

Students from some of the UK’s biggest universities and recent graduates have also been  shortlisted for awards. Universities represented in this year’s shortlist include Glasgow, Dundee, Bath and Imperial College London. 

A number of individuals are also shortlisted including Dr Patricia Xavier from Swansea University, who has been nominated in the innovation category for developing a new course for engineering students to think more broadly about ED&I.

Dr Patricia Xavier from Swansea University has been nominated

Dr Mark McBride-Wright, founder of the Engineering Talent Awards, said: “There are some fantastic role models in the engineering and technology sectors working all across the UK and so the Engineering Talent Awards rightly shine a light on their successes and ingenuity. 

“This is the one major event in the UK that also gives a huge platform to our country’s engineering businesses as well as the organisations nurturing the next generation. 

“This year, we are particularly looking forward to celebrating the success of women in STEM as well as others from a range of diverse backgrounds. These awards are a major recognition of the country’s finest and emerging engineering talent.”


Rebecca Constable, People Experience Director at McLaren Racing, said: “We are pleased to support the Engineering Talent Awards as part of our ongoing partnership with EqualEngineers, a key member of our McLaren Racing Engage alliance. 

“It’s fantastic to see the depth and diversity of engineering talent in the UK and we look forward to recognising and celebrating the worthy nominees and winners at the awards ceremony”.

Polly Williams, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Royal Academy of Engineering said: “We are pleased to be supporting these awards, which raise the profile of the work that organisations are doing to make engineering more inclusive and recognise and celebrate talented engineers promoting diversity in the profession. 

“The Academy is a vocal supporter of efforts to make engineering more diverse as well as promoting an inclusive culture. These awards will highlight the aspects of our profession that make it a desirable place to work and thrive.”

The full 2022 Engineering Talent Awards shortlist: 

Engineering Apprentice of the Year 2022
Brer Cornish, EDF Energy
Britoni Farrer-Williams, McLaren Racing
Daniel Sanders, WSP
Katie Dennett, Jaguar Land Rover
Nabilah Thagi, Dyson


Engineering Graduate of the Year 2022
Axel Gossart, Xylem
Jennifer Natalie Glover, AECOM
Jess Cliff, EDF Energy
Lorena Souza, Siemens Process Systems Engineering (SPSE)
Michelle Watiki, Rolls-Royce
Nour Badenjki, Subsea 7

Engineering Student of the Year 2022
Hoong Hao Yap, Imperial College London
Isabelle Pickett, University of Bath
Jaris Arleen Alvarez Trujilo, Heriot Watt University
Kaitlyn Rodger, University of Glasgow
Nyasha Mutembwa, University of Dundee

Engineer of the Year 2022
Amitoj Singh, Balfour Beatty
Cameron Salisbury, AECOM
Chrisma Jain, Transport for London
Mark Goudie, SP Energy Network
Michelle Green, FJD Consulting
Morenike Amiaka, PM Group

Engineering Returner of the Year 2022
Katie Ireland, Ørsted
Amanda Miller, SSEN Transmission
Jenne Blake, SCS Railways

Executive Leader of the Year 2022
Kelly Rose Paul, Air Products
Lee Timbrell, Vision Labs
Maria Papadopoulou, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)
Paul Shields, AECOM


Large Employer of the Year 2022
Siemens UK

Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) of the Year 2022
FJD Consulting
STS Defence

Inclusion Programme of the Year 2022
SSE Inclusion & Diversity Programme, SSE
Talent Acquisition Programme, Rolls-Royce
Myriad, Wood PLC

Employee Network of the Year 2022
Ability@BAM, BAM Nuttall Ltd
Ambition Network, Siemens
Disability and Wellbeing Network (DAWN), Costain Group PLC
Females in Transport Engineering (FiTE), Transport for London

Innovation of the Year 2022
Signal processing and AI for an enhanced clinical decision support platform, Nsugbe Research Lab(NRL)
The carbon assessment tool, FJD Consulting
Clean Pig™, Innovolo Ltd
Modularization of electrical containment, MEH Alliance
Hegemonic power and social reproduction, Swansea University, Department of General Engineering


Engineering Society of the Year 2022
Bristol CivSoc, University of Bristol
FemEng, University of Glasgow
HWU Robotics Society, Heriot Watt University
Women in STEM Society, University of Dundee

(Lead image: Tom Dingley)

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Swansea handyman is finalist in UK-wide local hero awards competition




Swansea handyman, Ash Heynes has made it to the final 7 names that could pick up SGS Engineering’s Local Hero Awards 2022.

Voting opens today, allowing the public to choose their winner.


There’s £1000 up for grabs for the tradesman who picks up the trophy, as well as £250 for four regional finalists.

The ‘local hero’ competition being run by UK manufacturer and retailer SGS Engineering, who are looking to reward tradespeople who go above and beyond for their local community.

Last year, hero builder Graham Nash of  Pinnacle Builders in Leeds was crowned the winner in the inaugural awards, when he won the public poll (with 39% of the 2,000+ votes), thanks to his incredible hard work correcting the errors made by cowboy builders whilst working at the homes of ordinary people. Going above and beyond, Mr Nash even made the corrections completely free of charge.  

The public vote for this year’s edition has now opened, enabling friends and family, as well as the wider community, a chance to rally behind their local finalist in the hope of securing them a grand prize of £1,000, alongside the honour of being named the nation’s ‘Local Hero 2022’.  

An additional four regional finalists will take home a £250 runners-up cash prize.  


Voting closes at 11:30pm on Monday the 2nd May, and the winner and runners up that secure the most votes will be unveiled on Thursday the 4th May. 

The Finalists are (in alphabetical order)… 

Ash Haynes – Bruno’s Eco Services (Swansea, Wales) 

Ash responded to the cost-of-living crisis and the isolation brought on by the pandemic by offering to do gardening, cleaning and landscaping work for free for those in need. Ash also kindly offered up the time to talk to anyone who needed some company. 

Band of Builders – (Wisbech, England) 

A volunteer group made up of trade professionals, Band of Builders raised thousands of pounds to help people living within their local community and beyond. In the past year they have clubbed together to complete free-of-charge building work for those in need across the country. 


Darren McGhee – DMG Services Group (Bellshill, Scotland) 

DMG services, a roofing company, went above and beyond when they offered free repairs for elderly people, and have also offered apprenticeships for unemployed people in the local area. 

James Anderson – Depher (Burnley, England) 

A kind-hearted plumber, James has responded to the energy price crisis by continuing his fantastic work with Depher, standing for Disability and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Repair. 

Depher has completed vital plumbing work for elderly and unwell people who were desperately in need. 


Naima Ben-Moussa – Lady in Red Plastering (Buxton, England) 

Naima is a female plasterer who has thrived in a traditionally male dominated industry, making the headlines by fixing walls destroyed by domestic abusers for free. More recently, she has even set up her own charity to help domestic abuse survivors. 

One Transformations Group (Pontypool, Wales) 

Volunteers from the company teamed up with other local businesses to create a wonderful garden for a local blind woman after a rogue builder had left it in a sorry state.  

Steve Parker – Parkers Plumbing and Bathroom Installations (Northampton, England) 


Steve is a plumber who kindly offered to fix the boilers of elderly people aged 65 and over that live near his local village of Irchester during the winter. 

Dave Gordon, General Manager at SGS Engineering explained:  “The Local Hero Awards 2021 brought some heart-warming stories in to the spotlight during what was a very difficult time for people up and down the country, including those who took elderly customers for a fish supper, and of course our winner Graham Nash, who bravely tackled the shoddy work of cowboy builders. 

“Looking through the finalists for this year, it is fantastic to see a new crop of tradespeople working wonders for the people in their local area and demonstrating acts of true kindness. 

“It is now in the UK’s hands to determine who wins this fantastic cash prize. We’re also very happy to be able to share that that some of the regional finalists will each receive £250 in cash too – it’s our way of saying thank you on behalf of those they’ve helped.” 

You can vote online at SGS Engineering’s website.


(Lead image: Ash Heynes)

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