GlaxoSmithKline Laboratory Analyst Apprentice, Charlotte Hughes, won ‘Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year’ at the East of England celebration of the National Apprenticeship Awards (centre in the picture above). Since joining the pharmaceuticals giant two years ago, Charlotte has excelled in her role which involves R&D and testing potential new medicines, with manager Ricky Casey describing her performance as ‘nothing short of exemplary’.

He says, “She’s a talented scientist, and matches the talent with an outstanding work ethic that knows no bounds. Charlotte is also humble; she appreciates the opportunities afforded to her and recognises the need to ‘give back’ to the system that has seen her flourish. She mentors younger GSK apprentices and engages with senior GSK leaders to improve the company’s apprenticeship scheme to help provide similar opportunities to future generations. Charlotte is a role model for all young scientists and is thoroughly deserving of her award.”

Charlotte, who joined the programme aged 18 says, “I am extremely proud to have received this award. I chose an apprenticeship because university is an expensive route to take and I am aware that many employers value relevant work experience when hiring new staff. The apprenticeship scheme has allowed me to earn while I learn and gain industry experience far beyond what I would have gained at university."

Charlotte’s positive experience has inspired her to raise awareness about apprenticeships at careers events and by meeting local businesses. She says, “I feel that it is important to provide students with information about every possible career path so they can make a better informed decision about their future.”

Apprenticeships are a key priority for the LEP and are vital to the growth of our local economy, as evidenced in our Strategic Economic Plan. Through our Apprenticeship Strategy, we work to raise the profile of apprenticeships to ensure they are seen as a valuable development opportunity and to boost participation amongst young people and employers.

Norman Jennings, Hertfordshire LEP Skills & Employment Manager says, "Charlotte is a brilliant ambassador for apprenticeships and demonstrates the invaluable contribution apprentices can make to an organisation, whether an SME or a global heavyweight like GSK. We would love to see more employers in Hertfordshire providing apprenticeship opportunities to give our young people the skills and confidence they need to excel in their careers. We are keen to promote careers in STEM related industries, particularly for young women. Charlotte is an great example of a young woman excelling in a STEM industry and we wish Charlotte the very best of luck for the future.”

Now in its 14th year, the National Apprenticeship Award highlights the many success stories and benefits of apprenticeships. The National Apprenticeship Service supports the delivery of apprenticeships in England, offering free impartial advice and support to employers looking to recruit for the first time or expand their apprenticeship workforce. Search for apprenticeships on www.gov.uk to find out more.