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Wales & West Utilities Sam Jones has scooped the Foundation Apprentice of the Year award in this year’s Apprentice Awards Cymru.

Sam, 32 who lives in the Pontypridd area of Wales, is an apprentice with gas emergency and pipeline service Wales & West Utilities and scooped the award after beating off stiff competition.

The awards, which are organised jointly by the Welsh Government and National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship programmes.

Sam is in the final year of Wales & West Utilities highly coveted apprenticeship training programme and is part of the company’s operational team that maintains existing gas equipment and lays new gas supply pipes. He trains at Wales & West Utilities’ £3 million Training Academy in Treforest, south Wales.

Picking up the award in front of a packed room at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Sam said:

“I am thrilled to pick up this award – having this recognition from my peers is fantastic. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a gas engineer and follow in my dad’s footsteps.

“The apprenticeship is hard work but certainly very rewarding and I couldn’t ask for a more supportive environment in which to learn. Working in a fast paced, challenging and ever-evolving industry, I am proud to work with a company that demands the very best standards – delivering outstanding service to its customers.”

In addition to learning the skills of the trade, Sam has worked to raise public awareness of Carbon Monoxide – the silent killer. He wrote and presented a paper on the topic to the Institute of Gas Engineers and Management and has spoken at country shows, to companies and in his local community.

Sarah Hopkins, Wales & West Utilities People & Engagement Director, added:

“We are all very proud of Sam’s commitment to his apprenticeship, and the extra work he has done to raise awareness of carbon monoxide, the silent killer. Apprentices are vital to our business and working with them we can make sure that we keep specialist skills in our business for the benefit of the communities we serve.

“We have a reputation for providing outstanding levels of gas safety, reliability and customer service to the 7.5m people we serve – and we’re counting on Sam and his fellow apprentices to help us maintain this in the future.”

Wales & West Utilities has recently been awarded Silver accreditation against the Investors in People Standard, demonstrating their commitment to high performance through good people management.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service that serves Wales and the south west of England, puts customers at the heart of the business and is rated the top utility company in the UK for customer service. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night. 

The company also has a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe investment programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being upgraded to new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.