The executive group chairman of a leading apprenticeship provider in Wales has added another award to his growing list of honours.
Arwyn Watkins, OBE, from Cambrian Training Company, won the Leader of the Year Award, sponsored by Veteran Trees, at this year’s Welsh Veterans Awards and was runner-up in Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Pinnacle Document Solutions Group.
The award was in recognition of Arwyn’s role as Culinary Association of Wales president in leading the successful Team Wales bid to bring the Worldchefs Congress and Expo to the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport in 2026.
“The award was unexpected and it’s a great honour to win in such a strong category,” he said. “I do the voluntary job with the Culinary Association of Wales without thinking of accolades, but it’s nice to be recognised.
“Many people wouldn’t know that I am a veteran and it’s only in recent years that I have reconnected with the veteran’s community. It’s turning out to be memorable year, as I have been selected as one of 50 veterans from the Army Catering Corps for the Cenotaph March Past on Remembrance Sunday this year.”
Passionate about developing chefs in Wales, Arwyn coached the Welsh Junior Culinary Team to a Culinary Olympics gold medal in 2004 and was appointed CAW president in 2015.
Three years later, he received the Worldchefs Presidents Medal for promoting the advancement and profile of the culinary arts and profession in Wales.
Arwyn is group executive chairman of Cambrian Training Company, Trailhead Fine Foods and Mid Wales Fayres, all based in Welshpool as well as award-winning four-star restaurant with rooms Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, in Llanidloes.
A farmer’s son from Llanwrtyd Wells, he joined the Army as an apprentice chef in 1978 and has maintained his commitment to apprenticeship programmes ever since.
On leaving the Army in 1992, he joined the Merchant Navy, working for Stena Line and became a catering college lecturer in Kent before returning to Mid Wales to join Cambrian Training Company in 1998.
In 2002, he led a management buy-out of the company which has enjoyed considerable growth and success under his leadership. He is a key figure in the work-based learning sector in Wales, having previously served as chairman and chief executive and currently as a board member of the National Training Federation for Wales.
In the New Year’s Honours List in 2018, he received an OBE for his services to education and training in Wales.