Martin's a crusader for youth skills
ONE of last year's winners of the South Devon Skills Awards has urged business people to get their nominations in.
Cavanna Homes' group director Martin Cavanna (pictured) didn't know his name had been put forward as the 'employer who most inspires others to learn' in last year's South Devon Skills Awards.
Entries are currently being sought for the third annual South Devon Skills Awards, being held as part of the inaugural South Devon Skills Festival.
Organised by Torbay Development Agency, with partners Torbay Council and South Devon College, and with the support of MAS Works, the awards are part of its on-going commitment to support local enterprise and encourage businesses to develop and grow.
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The awards presentations will take place at the Skills Festival on April 12.
The awards aim to celebrate excellence in skills and acknowledge the many outstanding achievements in business over the past year in the local area. There are a number of award categories — both individual and employer focused.
Mr Cavanna was presented the award in recognition of his voluntary work with young people in Torbay and South Devon over the past 12 years. He has provided careers workshops on the construction industry as well as mentoring his own staff.
He has also had a long-standing link with Combe Pafford School in Torquay, working on a wide variety of projects with students who have learning difficulties, and helping small groups to prepare for job interviews.
He runs special workshops for mathematics specialists to highlight the importance of numeracy in construction.
He said he had not been aware of his nomination: "While we don't do these things for awards it is always nice to be recognised for it. I passionately believe in youth learning but also learning in later life."
He said all too often people leave school with the impression they are not good at anything while at school. But discovering they can learn as adults can pay dividends not just economically but with increasing self belief and confidence.
However, he also encouraged young people to learn as much as they can at school because once grown up there is so much else to take their attention, such as work and family life.
There are also aspects which are not necessarily taught at school, but which employers are looking for. It is not always those who come out top in what they do, but those who can show they are the best team players, the most enthusiastic, the most dependable and the most keen to learn which employers are seeking, he said.
Mr Cavanna is also a Science and Technology and Maths ambassador.
He said: "I would encourage others to nominate someone who they feel is doing something over and above the norm who they feel deserves recognition."
The closing date for entries is March 15 and the judging day takes place a week later on March 22, with the winners announced on April 12.
Information on how to enter these awards, or to nominate someone, can be found by logging on to www.heexcellenceawards.co.uk or call Justin Hall, Herald Express events and business development executive, on 01392 207141 or 07703 502478.
Interested parties can download applications for the individual and employer categories from the website.