Anthony A Davies Ltd wins national award after succession plan saves jobs and boosts sales

Anthony A Davies Ltd has cause for celebration a second time this month after winning another prestigious national award.

 Anthony A. Davies Group of Abergavenny, won the Small Employer award at the National Training Awards, organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation Wales (NTfW). There were nine finalists in three categories for the awards.

 The National Training Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of employers who have Investors in People accreditation and who have used excellence in training and skills development to impact on their business.

 The winners were announced at a high profile awards presentation ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on Wednesday, October 24, where the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru were also announced. The joint awards were attended by around 350 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales.

A Welsh Government funded succession plan, backed by a targeted training programme, allowed the directors of Anthony A. Davies Group to secure the jobs of 49 employees and 40 subcontractors as they planned their retirement.

 Anthony Davies established his joinery business in 1980, focussing on quality, service and a commitment to his local community. His contracts in the private, commercial, local authority and health board sectors are worth up to £6 million pounds. The company first achieved Investors in People status in 2000,

But when directors – Anthony and wife Dawn – wanted to prepare their exit strategy they faced stark choices – close the business, sell or hand over to their management team.  The succession plan put even greater focus on their dilemma.

 Dawn said:” Closing would devastate many families but most revealing was that 64 per cent of our workforce would be 65 within 10 years, including many senior managers; hardly appealing to a prospective buyer.”

 So they decided to create a competent management team and 20 employees expressed interest in developing their management skills, with funding accessed through Workforce Development and the Enhanced Leadership and Management Skills programmes.

 Senior managers about to retire would coach those selected for management roles, but first it was necessary to train the coaches up to the relevant Institute of Leadership and Management standard.

 “Its two to four years before we take a step back but the programme is already having positive outcomes with efficiencies and more client recommendations resulting in increased sales,” said Dawn.

 Workforce Development, Enhanced Leadership and Management Skills and Apprenticeship programmes are funded by the Welsh Government through the European Social Fund.

 Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert said irrespective of whether or not they collected an award, all the finalists were winners. Each had an inspiring story to tell, making them true ambassadors of Investors in People, Apprenticeships and other skills development programmes in Wales.

  “These awards recognise excellence by individuals, employers and learning providers in delivering training,” he added. “I was delighted with the standard of this year’s finalists and the variety across all ages and sectors, which demonstrates the strength of the skills being delivered in Wales.”

 Wynne Roberts, NTfW chairman, said: “The award finalists are excellent examples of a partnership approach to skills development in Wales involving the Welsh Government, employers, apprentices, trainees and providers working together to deliver a high quality, high performing workforce. They are ambassadors who I am sure will champion skills programmes as one of the solutions for economic recovery.”