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Andrew Cooksley

Andrew’s mission in life is to make a positive difference in Wales.

He is investing in the nation’s future by creating outstanding learning opportunities for young people.

Andrew Cooksley

Andrew grew up in Cardiff and left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications. After a lot of jobs and false starts he started ACT, Wales’ leading Training provider, in 1988 at the age of 22. His passion and vision meant that the company quickly expanded into the award-winning organisation it is today.

ACT delivers traineeships, apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships to help over 6,500 learners a year achieve their career ambition. It employs over 300 members of staff in seven centres across South Wales and works with over 700 leading Welsh businesses and 17 subcontractors.

ACT is regarded as the most successful training provider in Wales. As well as receiving exceptional reports from Estyn (Her Majesties Inspectorate for Wales), ACT has received numerous prestigious awards for the quality of the training it delivers, the level of service it offers and the impact it has on Wales, including:

  • Sunday Times Best 100 Companies in the UK 2015
  • Provider Award for Social Responsiveness, Apprenticeship Awards 2014
  • Wales and West Utilities Inspiring Young Talent Award, Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards 2014
  • Investors in People Gold Awards in 2013 and 2010.

Following on from ACT’s success in Wales, Andrew has ambition to grow the business into England to deliver their first ever contract across the border and start developing a UK-wide business.

Andrew works with thousands of young people across Wales. He has realised that far too many young people engage with ACT at age 16 with deficient skills and are unprepared for a successful transition from school into the ‘real world’. To readdress these fundamental issues, Andrew set up ACT Schools.

ACT Schools operates two academies, in Cardiff and Caerphilly, which offer an alternative education for 14-16 year olds who are not in mainstream education. During the 2013-14 academic year, 100% of learners sat their English and Maths GCSEs and 90% of learners positively progressed into further training, education or employment, an example of ACT Schools’ excellent success rate.

As well as setting up ACT and ACT Schools, Andrew has launched four other innovative companies within the education and training sector, increasing the number of learning opportunities available to people in Wales:

  • ACT Enhance specialises in delivering Essential Skills to businesses to improve the literacy, language, numeracy and IT skills within the Welsh workforce
  • Learn About offers engaging training programmes for young people in some of the most deprived areas in Wales
  • iTeach provides a dedicated consultancy, training and installation service for Apple technology in business and education
  • Portal delivers Higher Apprentices in Management to schools across South Wales.