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Graduate Programme Wales shortlisted in the Wales STEM Awards 2023

Graduate Programme Wales, managed by the Welsh Contact Centre Forum (trading as CNECT Wales and part funded by the Welsh European Funding Office has been named as one of the 55 companies and individuals shortlisted in the 2023 Wales STEM Awards, sponsored by Cardiff Metropolitan University.

The South Wales-based initiative has been recognised in this year’s highly anticipated awards because of its commitment to making a positive difference to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) agenda in Wales.

The Wales STEM Awards is back for the third time to shine a spotlight on the organisations and individuals raising the profile of STEM in Wales.

The awards will once again celebrate those leading the sector in Wales, including those 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.

The Programme has been shortlisted in the STEM Educational Programme of the Year (Private Sector) category, which recognises businesses who are addressing the stem diversity gap, the skills shortage and inspiring the next generation.

All finalists from across the 13 categories will now be considered by an industry-leading panel of judges, with the winners being announced at the awards ceremony at the Mercure Holland House Hotel in Cardiff on 13th October.

Graduate Programme Wales was set up to attract and develop STEM graduates into roles within Data, AI and Financial Services with a view of keeping high calibre talent in Wales.

Managed by the Welsh Contact Centre Forum (trading as CNECT Wales) and part-funded by the European Social Fund, it offers two graduate programmes; a two-year financial services programme and a fast-track data/ai programme which runs for 10 months.

What makes both programmes unique is that not only do graduates gain paid work experience, but they also study for a fully funded post-graduate qualification which has been designed collaboratively with over twenty industry and academia partners.

The Programme is celebrating 10 successful years of attracting and retaining talent in Wales, with employers such as Atradius, Stellantis Finance (previously known as Opel-Vauxhall Finance), Admiral, IDWAL marine, Hodge Bank, Principality Building Society, Pepper Money, Propel Finance, Acquis Insurance and many more gaining access to the future generation of STEM leaders and influencers.

Programme Delivery Manager, Caroline Jerrett said: “We are incredibly proud of our success rate over the last 10 years. Not only have we supported nearly 240 talented graduates by fast tracking their careers, but we have also worked with employers and academia to secure the delivery of their future talent pool in the STEM sector in Southeast Wales.

With the European Social Fund coming to an end this year, we are committed to safeguarding the future of the Programme in order to continue to act as a gateway into the sector.”

Co-founder of the awards Liz Brookes, said: “We were blown away by the talent, innovation and dedication amongst the organisations and individuals who entered this year’s Wales STEM Awards.

“The calibre of the organisations, projects and individuals working hard across the country to further the STEM agenda is undeniable. We look forward to celebrating and highlighting the inspiring work being done across Wales at the awards evening in October.”

Dr Louise Bright, head of judges and founder of Wales Women in STEM Network, said: “The Wales STEM Awards provide an important opportunity to celebrate some of the remarkable people and achievements in the STEM sector. I am so pleased to see the volume and quality of applications for these awards growing every year. In shortlisting the entries, the judges have read about some amazing people and initiatives, demonstrating a strong STEM sector in Wales and one we should be proud of. I am very much looking forward to meeting the shortlisted nominees for judging and hearing more about their endeavours. Well done to all those who have been shortlisted.”

The Wales STEM Awards are being jointly organised by Grapevine Event Management and communications agency jamjar. Sponsors include Cardiff Metropolitan University, XMA, CSA Catapult, Cardiff Medicentre, Linea Resourcing and Red Knight Consultancy.

The 2022 awards saw winners including Eben Upton, founder of Raspberry Pi take home Outstanding Contribution to STEM, Catsci take home STEM Company of the Year (20+ employees), and Sharan Johnstone from the University of South Wales take home STEM Woman of the Year.

The full shortlist can be found at