An independently owned hotel, bar and restaurant on the Mid Wales coast is reaping the rewards of its strong commitment to Apprenticeships.

Gwesty’r Harbourmaster Hotel at Aberaeron is growing and nurturing its own staff to address a skills shortage in the hospitality industry. The reward is a highly skilled, motivated and loyal, 40-strong workforce that has put the popular harbourside hotel on the map.

The successful business has been working flat out to welcome back customers since the Covid-19 restrictions on the hospitality sector in Wales were lifted in late summer. The hotel, which has 13 luxury boutique style rooms, is fully booked until October due to the demand for staycationing.

“We are very proud that our apprentices and the company have been recognised in the fantastic awards that we have won,”
General manager,
Dai Morgan.

The hotel’s investment in staff training and development has not gone unnoticed. The Harbourmaster was named Small Employer of the Year at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru in 2019 and followed up with the Apprenticeship Engagement for Small Employers accolade at Cambrian Training’s Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards in March this year.

Cambrian Training has delivered Apprenticeships to 47 learners at the hotel since 2005 and currently has four apprentices there. The Apprenticeships range from Levels 2 to 4 in Hospitality Services, Professional Cookery, Hospitality Supervision and Leadership, BIIAB and Hospitality Management.

Apprenticeships have helped the hotel to focus on providing a high standard of customer care and visitor experience to maintain its excellent reputation across the UK.

“We are very proud that our apprentices and the company have been recognised in the fantastic awards that we have won,” says general manager, Dai Morgan.
“They show that we are genuinely committed to investing time and money in training and nurturing homegrown staff to reach their potential whilst working within their home county where they contribute to the local economy.

“It has been our aim from the outset to develop a strong team at the Harbourmaster and this has been possible as a result of the Apprenticeship opportunities. On-the-job training is a valuable asset to any business as it enables the learner to develop skills and knowledge whilst working.

“It has been noticeable that staff members on the Apprenticeship Programme have shown improvement in their work, a better commitment to the job and a mature confidence in their dealings with hotel guests.”

“We have had a lot of help from Cambrian Training over the years and I am impressed by the drive of managing director Arwyn Watkins and the quality of his staff. We are very lucky to have Hazel Thomas as our training officer.”

“Apprenticeships contribute to developing the skills and knowledge of individuals which will support their life journey and create a more professional workforce for employers.”


“I would definitely recommend Apprenticeships with Cambrian Training to other companies because they improve your business and keep it growing. It’s impossible for a business owner or manager to be available 24/7, so it’s important that they delegate and put their trust in staff who have the necessary skills and knowledge.”

Whilst the hotel and many other hospitality businesses closed during the Covid-19 lockdown, its apprentices were able to forge ahead with their qualifications with online support from Hazel.

Directors and staff at Cambrian Training worked remotely from home during the pandemic but stayed connected to learners via the City & Guilds’ Learning Assistant e-portfolio system.

Hazel used Google Hangouts communications software to speak face to face with apprentices to provide support and review evidence for their Apprenticeship portfolios.

One of those to benefit was Steffan Walker, 26, assistant manager at The Harbourmaster, who completed his Higher Apprenticeship during lockdown.

“I want to keep on improving myself and the business because both benefit from Apprenticeships,” explains Steffan. “They have definitely helped me in my role, especially learning about different management styles and employment law.

“Cambrian Training and Hazel have a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector and, by liaising closely with the apprentice and the business, they ensure that the Apprenticeship meets the needs of both.”

Cambrian Training, which has offices in Welshpool, Holyhead, Colwyn Bay and Llanelli and Builth Wells, is 25 years old this year.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

For more information, please contact Katy Godsell, Cambrian Training Company’s marketing manager, on Tel: 01938 555 893 option 4 or Duncan Foulkes, public relations adviser, on Tel: 01686 650818.

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