Chelsea’s goal – and why it may inspire you to enter the 16th National Apprenticeship Awards

9 May 2019, 20:10

Lives being changed for the better – these are the personal tales Anne Milton hears a great deal in her everyday working life.

It never ceases to amaze me just how much energy and enthusiasm there is for apprenticeships – from employers, training providers and, most importantly, from the apprentices themselves.

In fact, the most frequent thing I hear from apprentices is that they wished they’d started their apprenticeship sooner!I thought it would be useful to reflect on one of the many inspiring apprenticeship stories I’ve heard. Training providers do an amazing job.

When it comes to delivering high-quality training, the stories I hear serve as a real reminder of the important work they do.

During National Apprenticeship Week in March, I visited an enterprise software company, Invotra, who are one of the UK’s “Top 100 Apprentices Employer”.

The positive impact apprenticeships have had on the company was clear to see, with over a third of the workforce made up of former or current apprentices.

Crucially, all the apprentices I met with spoke passionately about their work and the company culture.

Chelsea Cadd was one of the apprentices I met during my visit. As well as studying hard to complete her apprenticeship, she has already achieved so much in her short career.

Chelsea is one of just a small number of female cyber security apprentices in the UK (a huge achievement in itself) and, at last year’s Cyber Security Awards, was awarded Newcomer of the Year nationally.

Chelsea told me how she always had a flare for IT and was initially set on studying towards a degree in computing at university. She explained that this was because her school had encouraged everyone to move on to university and, although she wasn’t sure if it was for her, it seemed to be the only option.

Fortunately, Chelsea decided to research other avenues instead, and this led her to Invotra and their apprenticeship programme. Taking up this opportunity quickly became – as she put it – a “no brainer”.

After deferring university for a year, Chelsea started her apprenticeship journey with a course in networking and IT systems and hasn’t looked back since. In less than a year, she was promoted to test manager, building the team up from scratch to include many other apprentices.

Chelsea is now part-way through a level 4 apprenticeship in cyber security – after Invotra’s CEO identified her talent – and is going from strength to strength.

I hear stories like this one all the time. Stories about apprentices who are passionate, inspirational and whose lives have changed for the better because of the opportunities they have gained through their apprenticeship.

I’ve also met with just as many pioneering employers like Invotra, and importantly, the superb apprenticeship training providers that are making sure apprentices get the high-quality training they need.

All of them deserve to be recognised for their brilliant work and achievements.

We’ve recently announced the opening of this year’s National Apprenticeship Awards.

The awards challenge top apprenticeship employers, apprentices and those who champion apprenticeships across England to come forward and show how apprenticeships have made a real difference to their organisation and careers.

This year is the 16th year of the awards, and the national finale takes place in November, following regional ceremonies to find the best apprentices and employers from across the regions.

Nominations are open until 24 May.

More information can be found by visiting

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