Category: Jammin’ with…

Oil 4 Wales starts 10th year of trading on a high

By Raspberry Jim,

Founder Colin Owens with his daughter Sally Williams, a director at Oil4Wales.

Wales’s leading oil distributor is starting its tenth year of trading on a high after a record year of growth.

Family-run Oil 4 Wales, which will later this year celebrate a decade in business, has announced its best year of trading.

In 2019, the Carmarthenshire-headquartered company has seen its turnover soar to over £121 million up from £114 million, customer numbers grow from 70,000 to 90,000, headcount increase from 98 to 111, and its volume of fuel surge to 160million litres per annum.

The impressive results come after Oil 4 Wales acquired the Pwllheli depot of Rix Petroleum and the Llantrisant operation of fuel supplier Thomas Silvey, enabling the brand its presence and logistics across Wales.

Since the acquisitions Oil 4 Wales has invested a further £450,000 in the new depots to improve their offerings, including the introduction a truck stop at Llantrisant selling gasoil, kerosene and diesel opening up the opportunity to supply the local commercial markets.

Oil 4 Wales now has nine depots around Wales and owns three filling stations. Its 36 tankers deliver oil to farms, businesses and domestic customers around the country.

During the past year, the Wales-wide fuel distributor has also added to its roster of ambassadors, welcoming international rugby players Aaron Shingler  and Rhys Webb, along with Go Compare’s Wynne Evans to its team, who will support the brand at charitable and farming events across the country.

The success of Oil 4 Wales was inevitable thanks to founder Colin Owens’ early determination and innovative thinking, and despite achieving no GCSEs and choosing a career in the Merchant Navy over a degree – Oil 4 Wales has grown from strength to strength.

Despite achieving early success, Mr Owens and his family were forced to start over when their original company, Owen Fuels, was sold and the values the community-focussed company stood for were lost.

Following this setback, Mr Owens launched his now beloved brand Oil 4 Wales, which is dedicated to  supporting the communities of Wales, by providing quality, transparency, and honestly, and will “never be sold”.

Mr Owens said he was “proud of how far the business has grown” and looked forward to even more growth in 2020.

He said: “Oil 4 Wales has enjoyed growth across all areas this year, and we are extremely proud as a business to have exceeded £120 million during the last financial year.

“Not only have we increased our customer numbers by 20,000, our profit has risen, and most importantly we’ve been able to invest in expanding our portfolio and enhancing facilities to support communities across Wales.

“I’d once again like to thank my family and staff, who are the driving force behind the business’s success, and also to our fantastic staff right across Wales, without whom we couldn’t achieve half as much as we do.

“Oil 4 Wales’s mantra is to be Wales’s national fuel supplier, working with the community, for the community and as we continue to grow, we continue to fulfil our ambitions. I look forward to seeing what 2020 brings for us!”

The family-run brand is now working towards achieving Welsh Government recognition over the coming year, thanks to its primary aim of not just supporting the people of Wales with its services, but also enhancing communities for families across the nation.

Annually the company hosts community events across the country alongside its brand ambassadors – rugby players Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Daffydd Jones, Aaron Shingler, Rhys Webb, Samson Lee,  Jonathan Davies, Dan Biggar, and Dan Lydiate, along with GoCompare star Wynne Evans, comedian Max Boyce, and Welsh farmer Gareth Wyn Jones.

It also supports numerous educational, agricultural and farming events across Wales every year, including the annual Classic Tractor Road Run in memory of Nick Jones, which Oil 4 Wales has raised £30,000 for. Alongside this it also hosts numerous educational initiatives for schools and young people across Wales, including a motivational event at Porth School.

Legal firm Watkins & Gunn makes three senior appointments

By Raspberry Jim,

Leading South Wales law firm Watkins & Gunn has appointed a new partner, along with two new associates, as it continues to recognise the “sector-leading talent” and “dedication” of its staff.

The award-winning firm promoted associate solicitor and childcare legal specialist Kate Roberts to partner, while solicitors Natalie Corten and Lucy O’Brien have both been appointed to associate level.

Ms Roberts, who has worked at the firm’s Pontypool office for the past 11 years, was also promoted to the head of the childcare team after developing an unparalleled reputation for her work in this area, and also for working across complex private law matters.

As part of her role, she acts for parents and guardians and undertakes advocacy at all levels in the family court. Due to her expertise she is also a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel.

On her promotion Ms Roberts said she was “privileged” to be joining the senior ranks of one of Wales’s leading law firms.

She said: “I am delighted to have been promoted to partner at Watkins & Gunn, and head of the childcare team.

“I’d like to thank my fellow partners at the firm for their belief in me and for supporting me in taking this exciting new step.

“Advocating for children and families has been my professional passion for a number of years, it is so rewarding for that work to be recognised in this way.”

Also being promoted this month are solicitors Natalie Corten and Lucy O’Brien, who will both take on the role of associate.

Ms Corten joined the firm as a trainee solicitor in 2014 and qualified into the family department in 2016.

Since then, she has specialised in all aspects of family law, with a particular focus on children matters, and represents parents in both private and public Children Act matters.

Fellow associate Ms O’Brien, who specialises in Public Law, was also delighted to be taking up her new role.

She has been carrying out high profile national judicial review work and also  working alongside partner and head of Public Law Michael Imperato in representing clients in the on-going infected blood Inquiry. 

On the promotions, managing partner at the firm, Clive Thomas, said it was a pleasure to see all three progressing and strengthening the firm’s offering.

He said: “On behalf of all of the partners I would like to congratulate Kate, Natalie and Lucy on their promotions, which are very well deserved. It is great to see the role women are playing at the forefront the growth of our firm. As signatories of the Women in Law Pledge we are committed to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the profession by focusing on retention and promotion opportunities. 

“Kate in particular has been a driving force behind the success of our childcare team and it has been a pleasure to see her grow and develop over her 11 years here. We look forward to seeing her progress further in the firm within her new role as partner.

“Both Lucy and Natalie have grown from strength to strength since joining us and we have been thrilled to see their progress too.

“These latest promotions demonstrate the sector-leading talent we have at Watkins & Gunn and we are proud to be able to recognise their dedication and to support their progression.”

Returning Osprey Rhys Webb ‘thrilled’ to be appointed as Oil 4 Wales ambassador

By Raspberry Jim,

Image: Huw Evans Picture Agency

Welsh international rugby star Rhys Webb is set to become an ambassador for Oil 4 Wales when he makes his “highly anticipated” return to the Ospreys this year.

The scrum half, who played for the British and Irish Lions in 2017, has been appointed to the prestigious role at the independent family-run oil distributor to coincide with his return to Welsh rugby.

The 31-year-old confirmed that he will be returning to play for his former side from next season, after being released from his contract with French side Toulon.

On his return the player will join a host of iconic Welsh rugby stars who support the Oil 4 Wales brand, including Rob Evans, Gareth Davies, Dan Lydiate, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Dan Biggar, Scott Quinnell, Scott Williams, Jonathan Davies, Robin McBride, and Neil Jenkins, and recently appointed ambassadors Aaron Shingler and Sampson Lee.

On his new role at the leading oil distributor, which supplies 160 million litres of fuel per annum to 90,000 domestic and commercial customers across Wales, Mr Webb said he was delighted to be supporting a brand which supplies so many people in Wales.

He said: “I am thrilled to be returning to Wales to play for the Ospreys from next season, and look forward to again playing for the region which has been so instrumental to my success.

“Along with my return to Welsh rugby, I also wanted to give back to the fans and Welsh people who have been endlessly supportive of me over the years, while I have played both at home and overseas.

“As such I was delighted to take up the role of ambassador with Oil 4 Wales, which does so much for local communities across the country.

“Not only is Oil 4 Wales a lifeline to thousands, providing essential oil and fuel supplies come rain or shine, they also offer unrivalled support to community projects, local charitable initiatives, and schools, which really sets them apart.”

In his new role the returning Osprey will be supporting the leading brand, which supplies homes, businesses, commercial premises, agricultural and retail customers, at charitable and local farming events.

On the player’s appointment, founder of the brand Colin Owens said he was delighted to welcome him back to Welsh rugby and into the Oil 4 Wales family.

Colin and his family were especially excited to work with Rhys as they are old family friends with his partner Delyth.

He said: “I was so excited to hear that Rhys’s rumoured return to the Ospreys was confirmed, and I can’t wait to see him return to the pitch from next season.

“With his highly anticipated return confirmed it only felt natural that we would invite him to join us as an ambassador at Oil 4 Wales. Our ambassadors are absolutely vital in supporting the wide-ranging community work that we undertake each year, and we have been privileged to work with some of the best Welsh sports stars and entertainers in the business.

“We look forward to working alongside Rhys to further support the communities of Wales in 2020.”

jamjar partners with Warrior Women Events to celebrate and inspire women in Cardiff

By Raspberry Jim,

Creative communications agency jamjar has partnered with Cardiff-based Warrior Women Events to celebrate, empower, and inspire women across the city.

The Warrior Women team will be working with the award-winning agency to promote its work having successfully established a movement in Cardiff through its empowering, thought provoking, feel good events.

Bringing together like-minded women – in a relaxed, friendly and welcoming environment – the monthly events feature a range of inspiring female speakers – allowing their voices to be heard, their experiences to be shared and their stories to be told.

Last year, 865 women from across the city attended a Warrior Women Event hearing the stories of and celebrating the successes of over 40 successful female-run businesses.

Covering a variety of subjects including self-love, interior design, careers, and sustainable fashion, the monthly sell out events continue to grow in popularity.

Our very own head jammer Lyndsey was invited to speak at last year’s Careers event and has since become a big fan of what the events are about and what the movement is aiming to achieve.

Managing Director of jamjar, Lyndsey Jenkins, said that these events play a pivotal role in creating a “strong, inspiring, and united” female community across Cardiff.

“Warrior Women Events are the only events of their kind in Cardiff.

“They are such a positive and uplifting experience, giving local businesswomen the opportunity to share their experiences, inspire, learn from, celebrate and support one another.

“I absolutely loved sharing my story at an event last year and as a female-strong business we’re delighted to be supporting the Warrior Women team moving forwards. They have some really exciting plans for the future and we’re excited to be on board.”

For more information about the events visit

Sony UK TEC searches for “passionate and driven” applicants for Higher Apprenticeship scheme

By Raspberry Jim,

Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC) is searching for the latest round of talented applicants to join its Higher Apprenticeship scheme.

The Pencoed-based facility, which produces 4K and HD broadcast cameras for worldwide distribution, is launching the scheme for the eighth consecutive year on February 3rd.

The industry-leading scheme is coordinated by the company’s onsite Sony Wales Academy and will enable its participants to gain invaluable work experience at one of the world’s leading manufacturing sites, while they also work to gain degree-level qualifications.

Sony UK Tec is looking for budding Electronic Engineers from across South Wales to take part in the four year scheme. As part of the apprenticeship, successful applicants will work across a diverse range of departments, to enable them to decide where their interests and skills are best suited.

During the scheme they will help to develop internationally renowned products including 4K broadcast technology, the Raspberry Pi, Sony’s smart office solution Nimway, and smart city technology.

So far over thirty apprentices have taken part in the successful internal scheme over the last five years, with all participants praising its diverse offering.

Kevin Edwards, General Manager for Engineering, said: “Apprenticeship programmes are an essential commitment for an organisation dependent upon technology and knowledge.

“Our enthusiastic approach to delivering our apprenticeship scheme provides future specialists across a variety of disciplines.

“Our apprenticeship is a thorough and diverse programme which offers new starters an in-depth insight into all aspects of Sony UK TEC’s highly successful engineering operation. We leverage the advantage of mixing high level academic courses with working alongside our sometimes-extraordinary team at Pencoed.

“We believe that this varied approach creates highly skilled and well-rounded team players and opens up a vast wealth of opportunities to them within the industry as a result. At the end of their four years, they are fully equipped with the ability, and knowledge, to become some of the sector’s brightest engineering talents and to drive genuine progression in the fields of technology and manufacturing.

 “We are particularly proud of our role in developing both specialists and leaders for our next generation supporting our ever-diversifying operation.

 “It’s an amazing time to be part of the Sony family, providing opportunities for both ourselves and the exceptional individuals here at Sony Pencoed.”

To apply for a place in the Sony UK TEC Apprenticeship scheme applicants must have a minimum of five GCSEs, including a B or above in Maths, and Cs or above in Science and English. Applicants must also possess or be working towards related qualifications.

Applicationsclose at midnight on 1st March, with assessments due to take place at the end of March.

To applyvisit Sony UK TEC’s website: or email

Traveline Cymru celebrates 20 years of ‘keeping Wales moving’

By Raspberry Jim,

The nation’s leading transport information provider, Traveline Cymru, is celebrating 20 years of “keeping Wales moving”.

The Welsh Government’s public transport information service has marked its landmark anniversary this month.

The service, which provides route, fare and timetable information for all bus, coach and rail services in the country, was established in 2000 as PTI Cymru.

Over the past two decades it has enjoyed numerous highlightsincluding establishing a successful text service and website in 2004, bringing its contact centre in-house in 2012, launching its app in 2011, and undergoing a rebrand in 2016.

In that time it has also helped customers plan over eight million journeys across Wales using the website since 2012, delivered over 5.6 million pieces of transport information in 2016, and seen its app used over five million times between 2012 and 2016.

It also handled 93,552 Traveline calls from January to December last year, along with 5,161,793 pieces of information during the same period.

Thanks to its innovative approach the service has also been recognised with numerous awards, the most recent of which was the Services to the Transport Industry Award at the Wales Transport Awards last year. It has also taken part in memorable campaigns including Traveline Tim, Traveline Heroes, and Hijinx Video, among many others.

To celebrate Traveline Cymru’s landmark anniversary, the organisation held a special event at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay this month, which was sponsored and attended by Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters AM.

On its enduring success over the past two decades, Operations Director at Traveline Cymru Jo Foxall said they were “incredibly proud” of the organisation’s growth and achievements during that time.

She said: “From our early beginnings back in 2000 we recognised that there was a demand from all areas of the public for the most up-to-date travel information across bus, rail, and coach services.

“Over the past 20 years that need for information has only continued to increase and evolve, with the incorporation of online and digital technology and with the exponential growth of the transport and travel industry.

“As such Traveline Cymru has continually strengthened and enhanced its provision in order to keep meeting the needs of millions of travellers across Wales annually.

“We are incredibly proud of how far we have come over the past two decades, and that we’ve been able to keep Wales moving and assist in millions of journeys during that time.

“We’d like to thank all our customers who have supported Traveline Cymru over the past 20 years and we look forward to supporting you further in the years to come.”

Traveline Cymru is a not-for-profit company based on a partnership between the Welsh Government, public transport operators in Wales and Welsh local authorities. It provides route, fare and timetable information for all bus, coach and rail services in the country via a bilingual website, Freephone number and a suite of services for mobile phone users.

ScoutsCymru urges young people to ‘embrace outdoors’ to tackle mental health issues

By Raspberry Jim,

ScoutsCymru is urging a growing number of young people suffering with mental health issues to “embrace the outdoors and the positive effects of exercise”.

The organisation, which encourages thousands of children and teenagers to get outdoors and gain skills for life, has said that physical activity and socialising can assist in tackling issues surrounding anxiety, loneliness, and stress in young people.

The volunteer-led group made the call to mark Children’s Mental Health Week from February 3rd to the 9th, which aims to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. 

ScoutsCymru chose to support the initiative after a recent study by charity Barnardo’s Cymru revealed that the number of children it supported in schools increased from 645 between 2017 and 2018, to 1,000 from 2018 to 2019.

While the Welsh Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s inquiry also warned that Wales has the lowest levels of physical activity among children.

Rhian Moore, Chief Commissioner from ScoutsCymru, said that physical activity and socialising could have “endless” positive effects for young people who may be struggling with mental health issues, and urged them to try something new this month.

She said: “It’s heartbreaking to think that so many young people are struggling with issues around stress, loneliness, and anxiety in Wales.

“While we would always encourage them to reach out and seek professional support if they feel overwhelmed by mental health issues, we also believe that regular physical exercise and embracing the outdoors can also have endless positive effects on mental wellbeing.

 “Our mission at ScoutsCymru is to provide over 14,000 young people  the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure, while developing the skills they need to succeed, so we believe that physical exercise could be the key to tackling both mental health and inactivity issues in Wales.

“Our members enjoy canoeing, climbing, running, cycling, and many other outdoor activities so we see first hand the benefits that exercise can have for them, not just in enhancing their physical health, but also supporting their mental wellbeing.

“So, to highlight Children’s Mental Health Week we could encourage everyone  to try something new, explore Wales, and socialise with friends this month – it might just make the world of difference.”

According to previous research from the National Child Development Study, ex-Scouts or Guides were 15% less likely than other adults to suffer anxiety or mood disorders at the age of 50.

The findings showed that this may be linked to the resilience and resolve taught through the organisation, which could have beneficial effects into later life.

ScoutsCymru also actively promotes better mental wellbeing both through its A Million Hands initiative, which focuses on six programme themes including Better Mental Health for All. This sees young members working alongside charities including Mind, the Scottish Association for Mental Health, and Inspire to empower Scouts to support their mental health now and in the future.

Top tips for surviving Christmas with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

By Raspberry Jim,

Uncertainty, loss of routine, and insecurity are just some of the emotions likely to affect people with autism over the festive season. 

While many will be tucking into the turkey, and ripping off wrapping paper, for those living with the developmental disorder, this time of year can be a far more daunting experience. 

Dr Vaughn Price, Principal Clinical Psychologist at Beechwood College, has highlighted how the loss of routine and structure at Christmas can bring confusion and chaos to many people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

Vaughn, who has extensively supported patients with ASD throughout his career, says:

All holiday periods can be a particularly difficult time for people with Autism as the structure and routine that they are familiar with is taken away. Add to this all the ways in which the festive season is different, then there is a lot of uncertainty to deal with.  People on the spectrum require a very concrete, literal and predictable world to feel as secure as possible.

“Unfortunately, situations are highly changeable throughout the year, which is particularly true around Christmas time. 

“This uncertainty creates ongoing anxiety. It is this anxiety that is at the heart of many issues that people with ASD experience around Christmas.” 

In a bid to support those with autism and their families during the challenging festive season Vaughn has offered some timely advice to recognising, planning, and coping with ASD at this time of year. 

What common issues might affect someone with autism at Christmas? 

“Everyone with ASD is different. However, there are some things that seem to come up a lot for people around this time of year. 

“The main issues which have an impact are changes to routine and structure; sensory overload; different social expectations; and irregular social interactions.” 

How can families help to minimise any distress? 

“To help combat these issues, families can attempt to build structure and daily routine into the festive period.  By keeping to routines as much as possible, the person with ASD will find it easier to cope with the sudden influx of change Christmas may bring. 

“It’s also essential to map everything out, using visual information to ensure your loved one understands what is happening now, next, that day, and this week. 

“If you are planning to go somewhere new, or undertake a new activity, it is important that you prepare ahead of time to reduce uncertainty. Ensure you preview what to expect, what is expected of them, how long it is going to last, and what is coming up next/afterwards. 

“It is also essential to never assume anything. Firstly clarify very literally what to expect, and then verify the understanding. 

“Preparing thoroughly for change is also key! Give a heads up when moving through the schedule for the day. And inform the person with ASD in enough time so they can adapt to the changing schedule.” 

What are the common warning signs or triggers before a potential episode? 

“These could include visuals signs of agitation/anger, or they may involve someone dissociating from what’s happening around them or trying to escape, either physically or mentally.” 

What can families do to prevent or minimise any issues? 

“If this then ascends into a meltdown it is crucial to limit demands on the person and not to talk to them, apart from to ensure they know you are there if they need you. 

“Make sure they are safe and everyone else in the vicinity is safe, and reassure them that they are safe. The family’s priority is to support the individual back to a calm space, and to avoid asking questions, arguing or shouting.” 

What is the most stressful aspect of Christmas and New Year for someone with autism? 

“Sensory overload can be a major issue at this time of year. 

“Everyone has subjective sensory experiences, for example what I like to taste, touch, and look at will be different to others. For some people on the spectrum this is magnified hugely: they can have sensory needs that can really impact upon their anxiety/stress etc.  

“At Christmas, these can include light – tinsel, Christmas lights, candles; sound – carols, bells, crackers; touch – Christmas jumpers starching, family hugging, excess shoppers.  

“There are lots of strange sensory experiences people experience at Christmas, and unless these are made familiar, it could quickly become quite unsettling for someone with ASD. 

“Families can gradually expose the person with ASD to these new sensations ahead of Christmas to ensure they are comfortable with them. If there are sensory needs around the person with ASD, it is useful to get an Occupational Therapist’s opinion on the matter, who has worked with ASD.” 

Dr Price added: “Plan ahead; if you can predict most of what may happen during the Christmas period, you can prepare and help everyone else to avoid stressful situations or manage them appropriately to minimise anxiety and maximise security.” 

Dr Vaughn Price is Principal Clinical Psychologist at Beechwood College, a specialist residential care and further education college in south Wales for young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 with a complex Autistic Spectrum Condition, SEBD needs, as well as moderate, severe and profound learning difficulties.

Hundreds of Scouts prepare to deliver Christmas spirit across Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan

By Raspberry Jim,

Cardiff and Vale Scouts are preparing to deliver a little Christmas magic across their local communities this festive season.

For the past 35 years, Scouts have been bracing the frost and delivering Christmas cards across their local areas. In recent years Scout Post has seen a drastic reduction in numbers due to the rise of social media, however, this year will not see tradition broken with up to 750 Scouts from 45 Scout Groups, Guides, Air Cadets and even the Fire Service coming together to deliver over 600,000 cards.

Established by a group in Roath, the Scout Post service allows a Christmas card to be delivered at a fraction of the cost of other postal services while supporting local young people in the community, raising £160k each year for Scouting locally.

Scout Post Co-ordinator, Paul Willicombe, said:

“We are so proud of the way the Cardiff and Vale community has come together to keep the tradition of sending Christmas Cards alive for another year.

“Sometimes, the busy nature of the festive seasons distracts us from taking a moment to spend time with people close to us and enjoying one of the best times of the year. Sending a Christmas card adds the personal touch back into wishing someone a Merry Christmas and it can mean the world to many people.

“By sending a Christmas card, you aren’t only putting a smile one someone’s face for one day of the year but helping to keep the smiles on the faces of hundreds of young people across Wales all year round. 100% of the money raised goes towards helping our local communities and allowing young people to gain skills for life.

“We are so grateful to all of those who have joined us to help with the service this year and to everyone who chooses to use Scout Post.”

Rhian Moore, Chief Commissioner for Scouting in Wales said:

“It is fantastic to see so many Scouts, Guides, Air Cadets and Fire Service personnel coming together to keep alive the tradition of sending Christmas cards while raising money to help our young people.

“Every year it is so special to see all those involved in Scout Post come together with the local community to celebrate the festive season. We are sure this year will be another huge success and we hope that the tradition will carry on for many years to come.”

The last day for posting your cards is the 2nd December. Stamps can be purchased from a host of local retailers for 30p. Click here to see a list of local outlets –

New awards launched to shine the spotlight on STEM in Wales

By Raspberry Jim,

A new awards scheme has been launched to shine the spotlight on those making a difference to, and championing, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) in Wales.

Entries for the inaugural Wales STEM Awards are now open, with the ceremony due to take place on 1st May 2020 at City Hall in Cardiff.

The awards have been established to celebrate those leading the sector in Wales, those businesses creating an impact on the Welsh economy, those addressing the STEM diversity gap and skills shortage, and those inspiring and raising aspirations of the next generation.

There are fifteen categories to enter:

STEM Start-Up of the Year
STEM Scale-Up of the Year
STEM Educational Programme of the Year
STEM International Business of the Year
STEM Environmental Initiative of the Year
Innovation in Science Award
Innovation in Technology Award
Innovation in Engineering Award
Innovation in Mathematics Award
STEM Rising Star of the Year
STEM Woman of the Year
STEM Leader of the Year
STEM Company of the Year (0-25 employees)
STEM Company of the Year (26-250- employees)
STEM Company of the Year (251+)

Despite one in five new jobs in the UK being STEM jobs by 2022, research from STEM Learning shows that 89% of STEM businesses are struggling to recruit. With Wales needing more STEM professionals, the Awards have been endorsed by Welsh Government. 

Lee Waters AM, Deputy Minister for Economy & Transport, said:

“STEM is a key Welsh Government priority and we are committed to ensuring that all learners have an equal opportunity to reach the highest standards in science, technology and maths.  I welcome the inaugural Wales STEM Awards and its celebration of the importance of STEM and Wales’ STEM stars – inspiring and raising aspirations of the next generation.”

Dr Louise Bright, head judge and founder of Wales Women in STEM network, said:

“STEM subjects are vital to innovation and productivity in Wales. STEM helps us to accelerate economic development and tackle some of the biggest challenges facing us today, including sustainability and renewal energy. Our STEM skills gap needs to be addressed for Wales to reach its full potential and these awards are one way of shining a light on excellence in STEM in Wales. Addressing the shortage of STEM skills in Wales is key to a healthier and vibrant future.”

Integrated, multi-discipline professional advisory business GS Verde Group, which comprises law firm Greenaway Scott, corporate finance boutique Verde Corporate Finance and patent attorney firm Alchemie IP, has become headline sponsor of the awards. Director Rhian Osborne said:

“Our work with STEM businesses proves there is a lot to be celebrated here in Wales. The industries are moving at a fast pace and there is a great deal of talent here. If we want to put Wales on the map, we need to promote the STEM businesses, initiatives, careers and education on offer here and these awards are a great way of doing that. We’re delighted to be sponsoring the inaugural Wales STEM Awards. We’re looking forward to celebrating all those championing STEM in Wales.”

Other sponsors include Box UK, Cardiff Metropolitan University, CPS Group, Development Bank of Wales and Rolls-Royce.

The inaugural Wales STEM Awards are being jointly organised by Grapevine Event Management and communications agency jamjar. Liz Brookes of Grapevine Event Management said:

“We need to be in a better position to home-grow our STEM talent in Wales but it cannot be left to government or schools alone – businesses have a crucial role to play too. We felt that while there is some great work being done to champion STEM in Wales, there was nothing being done to shine the spotlight on this work to inspire the next generation. These Awards aim to do this, by bringing the business community together for the first time to recognise those entrepreneurial and innovative ventures that are making a difference to the STEM sector.”

The deadline for entries into the Wales STEM Awards close on 28 February 2020.

For more information visit www.STEMAwards.Wales