A passion for learning has transformed Laura Chapman from a shy teenager to a confident team leader with MotoNovo Finance in Cardiff.
The 21-year-old former Maesteg School pupil joined the car finance and loan company on a fixed term 18 month contract as a 17-year-old after choosing to earn and learn on an apprenticeship.
She quickly progressed from a Level 2 BTEC Diploma in Professional Competence for IT Professionals to an Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional, an ITIL Version 4 Certificate and now an ILM Level 3 in Management with ALS Training.
Now, Laura has been shortlisted for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2024 as an Apprentice of the Year finalist.
Highlight of the year for apprentices, employers and work-based learning providers and practitioners, the awards are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Headline sponsor is EAL.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at ICC Wales, Newport on March 22, 2024. The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners.
“For each qualification, I’ve been able to apply the learning directly to my role straight away,” explained Laura. “They go hand in hand, so it makes sense to continue learning. I’ve already set my sights on a Higher Apprenticeship in Management!”
The knowledge and skills gained have boosted her confidence to lead a team of eight analysts, to resolve IT issues for more customers and to positively impact the business.
Shortly after her promotion to team leader, she slashed a backlog by introducing a dashboard to prioritise incoming work. She has also introduced steps to improve staff morale and performance and boosted productivity by 50% by encouraging team members to collaborate and generate ideas.
Laura is also working with the company’s talent development staff and ALS Training to promote apprenticeships to her team.
“I share my story with my team and tell them how useful apprenticeships are,” she said. “They are a really good way to develop your knowledge, skills and career.”
Francesca Webster, early careers consultant for MotoNovo Finance, described Laura’s successful journey as “incredible”.
“Laura has completed three professional qualifications, is studying her fourth and has achieved three promotions, now managing a team of eight IT service desk analysts, all in under four years!” she said. “We can’t wait to see what Laura achieves next.”
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething congratulated Laura and all the other finalists. “Today’s apprentices will be tomorrow’s specialists, and Apprenticeship Awards Cymru allows us to recognise apprentices, work-based learning practitioners, and employers that have gone above and beyond. Their tenacity, passion, and commitment to growing their own careers, the careers of others, and the larger Welsh economy is inspiring. I wish each of the finalists the best of luck at the awards and with their future endeavours.”
Congratulating the finalists, Al Parkes, managing director at EAL, said: “As the specialist awarding organisation and skills partner for the engineering and manufacturing industry, apprenticeships in Wales are especially important to us.
“Apprenticeships play an important role in supporting personal progress through career opportunities and a sense of achievement, while ensuring that employers have the right skills at the right time to keep up with evolving industry needs. EAL is committed to encouraging employers to take on apprentices. Marking the achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning practitioners at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru is vital to this.”
For more information about recruiting an apprentice, visit: https://gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision or call 03000 603000.
Laura Chapman, Apprentice of the Year finalist.