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Talented apprentices recognised at Swansea Bay Construction Support Group Awards

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Talented young apprentices from John Weaver and ASW Property Services were the overall winners at a construction awards event covering Swansea Bay held last week, which also raised more than £2,000 for local charity Hands Up for Downs.

The Swansea Bay Construction Support Group’s 2022 awards ceremony took place on 7 July at the Village Hotel, Swansea, to support and recognise the achievements of new entrants, apprentices and future talent within the construction industry in the South Wales region.

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The ceremony, which was hosted by Swansea legend Kev Johns and included a three-course meal, was also part of an overall objective to promote the construction industry’s image and showcase the benefits of considering the construction industry as a career path, and what skills individuals can gain from this profession.

The evening saw awards presented to nominated apprentices from member companies of the Swansea Bay Construction Support Group, including: J.G. Hale Construction; ASW Property Services; CJ Construction; John Weaver; Andrew Scott; Craftsman Flooring; and Green Hat Consulting. Awards were also given to the Best Overall Apprentice and Best Technical Apprentice – won by Kim Smitham from John Weaver and Dalton Brown from ASW Property Services.

The awards ceremony was sponsored by Alpha Safety Training, PCR Global and Barry Training Services, who presented awards to all the winners on the evening, along with Councillor Andrea Lewis, Joint Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member, Climate Change and Service Transformation, Swansea Council. The event featured a raffle and auction to raise funds for the charity Hands Up for Downs.

The Swansea Bay Construction Support Group (SBCSG) is a collaboration of diverse contractors, located within the Neath, Port Talbot and Swansea region. It is a grant funded, not for profit organisation, that is committed to providing cost-effective training and development opportunities to its members.

During the evening, more than £2,000 was raised for local charity Hands Up for Downs through an auction and raffle. This support group brings families, parents, carers and children with Down Syndrome together to share advice and support, and as a group ensure that children living with Down Syndrome are given access to services they need.

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Anthony Thomas, chairman of the Swansea Bay Construction Support Group, said: “The awards evening was a fantastic success – it brought young talent together to be recognised for all of their hard work and dedication to the industry.

“We must celebrate these successes and support their journey. Our apprentices are just as responsible as our fully trained staff members for keeping the homes and buildings of our customers safe, and we are thankful to them for choosing the construction industry as a career path.”

“The Swansea Bay Construction Support Group Awards has allowed us to not only reward the hard working and dedicated apprentices who work for our members but has also allowed us to spread the word and positivity about the opportunities available to other young individuals who are weighing up their options.”

Gemma Mineur, training officer at Swansea Bay Construction Support Group, comments: “It was a pleasure to organise the second Swansea Bay Construction Support Group Awards to showcase the achievements of local people beginning one of many career paths available in the construction industry. We look forward to next year’s awards to again welcome and celebrate future talent within the industry.”

Winner Kim Smitham said: “I am absolutely over the moon with winning the award, which took me by surprise to say the least. I have loved the whole experience so far; both Gower College and John Weaver have been amazing. I have a great mentor and I work with great people on site. I am so proud of myself for finally doing this and I know my children and family are too.”

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Winner Dalton Brown said: “I was very proud to have been nominated but to have won the Award for Best Technical Apprentice 2022 was amazing. I am very grateful for the opportunities and support that ASW Property Services have provided me over the last five years. I am now very excited to see how I can grow within the company and where my future in construction will take me.”

Lead image: Swansea Bay Construction Support Group Awards (left-right) Kev Johns, Cllr Andrea Lewis, and SBCSG Chairman Anthony Thomas.

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Ammanford

Jenkins family set to grow Capel Hendre business as the UK’s leading manufacturer of chimney cowls and flue systems

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Midtec, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of chimney cowls and flue systems has completed the construction of 2500 square feet of additional manufacturing space at Capel Hendre Industrial Estate near Ammanford, using a £220,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales.

Formed in 2003 by Managing Director, Trefor Jenkins, Midtec first benefitted from investment from the Development Bank in 2005.

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They have since had several rounds of funding from the Development Bank to support growth plans and the next generation is looking to the future with the new additional space being used to house a state of the art ENSIS laser cutting machine, supplied by Amada.

Trefor said: “The ongoing support of the Development Bank means that we’ve been able to grow the business, drive efficiencies and invest in new market opportunities. We’ve also introduced new products including the MidCat, an innovative solution for reducing the pollution created by wood burning stoves and the only one of its kind in the UK.”

“Our latest investment in our technology means that we can now offer a laser cutting service that will help to improve our quality and production processes and save time on the turnaround of customer orders. We hope that this will play an important part in our future growth. Indeed, our turnover is on target to exceed £2 million this year and I’m delighted that my son Thomas and daughter Hannah are already playing a vital role in the business as we focus on our long-term sustainability.”

Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base
Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base

Richard Easton, a Portfolio Executive with the Development Bank, said: “Midtec is a family run and owned business that is known for its high quality and excellent customer service. With our continued support, Trefor, Thomas, Hannah and the team have created a modern manufacturing facility that has a really exciting future ahead.”

The loan came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government. Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available for deals between £50,000 and £2 million with terms ranging from one to seven years for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales.

Construction company TRJ of Ammanford carried out the building work, while Jamie Reynolds of Cennen Solutions has also been providing strategic support.

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Award-winning Pembrokeshire pub celebrates ultrafast broadband boost

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An award-winning pub in the heart of Pembrokeshire has been supplied with ultrafast fibre broadband in a move to boost connectivity in the area.

In 2010, Simon Vickers and Sian Mathias took over 300-year-old award-winning pub, The Griffin, moving from the city to their home roots with their two children for a lifestyle change. Accidental Chef, Simon, was also recently named Pub Chef of the Year 2021.

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The couple celebrated their new broadband connection last Friday (15th July), which has been supplied courtesy of Broadway Broadband.

They were joined by Pembrokeshire Council members Patrick Hannon and Michael Odlin as well as County Councillor Paul Miller, and members of the Broadway Broadband team.

Broadway Broadband has pledged to connect all 224 properties in Dale Village with ultrafast fibre broadband, in their aim to tackle the digital divide currently affecting remote, hard-to-reach areas of Wales.

The area surrounding The Griffin Inn had previously grappled with poor download speeds of around 5-10Mbps, with Superfast and Ultrafast packages completely unavailable. The package supplied by Broadway offers speeds of 100 Mbps for only £19.99 per month.

The new connection hopes to provide a boost for businesses and residents in the local area, who rely so heavily on the internet for day-to-day activity.

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Pembrokeshire Council members Patrick Hannon and Michael Odlin as well as County Councillor Paul Miller, and members of the Broadway Broadband team.

Simon Vickers/Sian Mathias, co-owner of The Griffin Inn, said: “We are over the moon to have now been connected by Broadway to fast broadband! This will bring much needed stability and speed to The Griffin Inn which relies on digital connectivity for almost all aspects of its daily running.

“On top of that, Dale Village is a popular tourist destination for families and water sport enthusiasts, so we hope our broadband upgrade will draw in more tourists looking for a ‘staycation’ holiday.”

Reece Simmons, Wales Regional Manager, Broadway Partners, said: “It has been great to witness first-hand the positive impact superfast, reliable broadband can have on local communities who previously have been disadvantaged by frustratingly slow internet speeds.

“The first connection in Dale Village at The Griffin Inn is a welcome first step in our goal to connect all the properties in the area with affordable, highspeed, reliable broadband and begin to bridge this connectivity gap we see across many rural areas”.

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Aldi retains title of ‘UK’s cheapest supermarket’

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As Brits continue to look for ways to cut household costs, consumer group Which? has yet again named Aldi as the cheapest UK supermarket.

With savings of £12.62 compared to the average Big Four basket, Aldi says its shoppers can be confident they’re getting the best deal.

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Which? conducted its monthly Cheapest Supermarket price comparison and looked at the cost of a basket of 47 items, including groceries and household essentials, with Aldi coming in cheapest at just £74.23.

The same shopping cost a whopping £16.91 more at Morrisons and £12.54 more at Tesco.

The independent consumer group’s research also found Aldi to be a massive £25.23 cheaper than the most expensive supermarket, Waitrose, for an equivalent basket of items.

The full results of the research are as follows:

RankRetailerAverage £
1Aldi74.23
2Lidl75.61
3Asda83.22
4Sainsbury’s86.27
5Tesco86.77
6Morrisons91.14
7Ocado95.33
8Waitrose99.46

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “We know that across the nation many families are finding things tough due to the cost of living crisis. At Aldi, we’re determined to help by keeping costs low and quality high for our customers. We’re thrilled to yet again be named the UK’s cheapest supermarket.”

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(Lead image: Aldi)

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