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Learner wins award for multi-million docks overhaul

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Success: Melanie with Judith Evans, CollegesWales chair, Sarah John, NTfW interim chair, Huw Morris, the Welsh Government’s director of skills, higher education and lifelong learning and compere Sian Lloyd

Success: Melanie with Judith Evans, CollegesWales chair, Sarah John, NTfW interim chair, Huw Morris, the
Welsh Government’s director of skills, higher education and lifelong learning and compere Sian Lloyd

THE DOCKS and marina supervisor at the Port of Milford Haven was a proud winner at the Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards for Wales.

Melanie Durney collected the VQ Learner of the Year Higher Level Award at the ceremony held at St David’s Hotel and Spa, Cardiff on Tuesday night, the eve of VQ Day. The awards are organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) and ColegauCymru / CollegesWales.

“I am thrilled to win the award,” she said. “It’s not only a personal achievement but an achievement for the Port of Milford Haven as a whole. I would like to thank the Port of Milford Haven, my colleagues, Pembrokeshire College and everyone involved in the VQ Awards.

“This award shows that vocational qualifications are effective, help you to progress in the workplace and I hope it encourages others to do the same.”

Melanie strives to make things happen, fast. She drew on her background in business finance to fulfil a lifelong ambition and joined the Port of Milford Haven as docks administrator. Five years on, she and her team are heading up a multi-million pound regeneration project set to bring jobs, boost tourism and create a brighter economic future for her beloved home town.

Melanie’s professional progress has been meteoric. Before her Level 4 NVQ in Business and Administration was even complete, promotion to docks co-ordinator came calling and she went on to achieve a Level 5 NVQ in Management last December.

Melanie has gone from supervising a team of four to having line management duties for 15 staff, including personnel from the port’s commercial dock and marina staff. She also managed customer relationships during the installation of a new set of Lock Gates – a once in a decade project – and in 2015 became Manager of the Year after nomination from colleagues.

“The Port of Milford Haven has played such a huge part in the town’s history and growing up I knew lots of people working here and always wanted to be involved,” she said. “I’m really passionate about the changes taking place here and take them very seriously on behalf of my local community.

“Continuing my learning while working has ensured that I’m up-to-date on best practice and processes within the sector and, more importantly, able to bring much more into the role and the wider business.

“I want to progress in my career and learning will be a big part of that, whether on the job or through studies. It’s important to keep learning and adapting and vocational qualifications are one way of achieving that.”

Her next goal is to progress to a Higher Apprenticeship at NVQ Level 7 – postgraduate level – in management.

Crediting the support of her team, manager and Pembrokeshire College assessor Glenys Francis with her success to date, Melanie is now focused on providing vocational opportunities to other staff members. She is also committed to helping ensure plans set to create further economic and social advantages for the wider region become reality as soon as possible.

She was one of 10 finalists in VQ Awards, which celebrate the achievements of both learners and employers across Wales. There were two other finalists in her category, which recognises individuals who clearly demonstrate progression and excellence in vocational studies and have made considerable achievements in their field thanks to vocational qualifications.

Minister of Skills and Science Julie James congratulated the 10 finalists and praised everyone who had been nominated for the VQ Awards this year. “Vocational skills have a huge impact on the Welsh economy and we value the gold standard of vocational learning being delivered to people right across Wales,” she said.

“Both VQ Day and the VQ Awards provide the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate not only the high standard of technical, practical and vocational learning being delivered in Wales, but also the many personal successes and achievements of our learners.

“High quality VQs are essential to provide individuals and businesses with the skills, experience, motivation and inspiration they need to get ahead. Ultimately it is only with appropriately skilled and trained people that we can drive forward the Welsh economy.

“Many of our VQ Award finalists this year have demonstrated that they are marked out as future leaders or ambitious entrepreneurs and have an eye on making sound business decisions and increasing productivity.”

Now in their ninth year, the awards coincided with VQ Day on June 8, a celebration of the benefits and value of high quality technical, practical and vocational learning to individuals and to the economy. There were also awards for VQ Employer of the Year and VQ Learner of the Year Intermediate Level.

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

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GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

The machine was due to be removed within months with the post master, Jon Moverley saying that it would be a disaster for the village.

If the ATM had been removed, there would have been just two 24-hour ATMs serving the whole of Fishguard and Goodwick in the short term and three when the Co-op renovations are completed.

Both politicians and local residents then got behind the campaign to keep the ATM

Pembrokeshire politicians Paul Davies and Stephen Crabb have welcomed the news that Goodwick post office is now set to keep its ATM facility. Following representations made by both politicians to the Post Office, it’s now been confirmed that Goodwick Post Office will be included in the rollout of ATM machines across the post office network.

Mr Davies said “This is really welcome news. I’m pleased that the Post Office has listened to the representations made by the local community and decided to retain the ATM at Goodwick post office. The facility is so important for local people and businesses and it’s great that that’s been recognised and the Post Office has committed to keeping it.”

Following the Post Office’s decision to invest in Goodwick’s ATM rather than remove it, Stephen Crabb MP, who campaigned for the ATM to stay, commented: “It’s great news that the Post Office has overturned its own decision and will be keeping an ATM machine in Goodwick.

“Access to cash continues to be incredibly important for a number of people and businesses and I’m pleased to have played my part in working with John from the Post Office in Goodwick, Paul Davies MS and the wider community to highlight the ATMs importance to the area. It shows what can be achieved when we work together.”

The postmaster described the news as ‘brilliant’. Mr Moverley thanked supporters.

He said “Many thanks to all of you who have used the machine and complained to POL about the removal. We were also supported by our MP, MS and mayor, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and our Chamber of Trade.

“Everyone did their bit, and it says an enormous amount about the strength of the community.

“We are delighted that locals and so many other people have come together to save this essential facility in the village.”

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