Apprenticeship Awards: Learning need never stop

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Apprenticeships can help people fulfil their potential all through their careers - not just when they leave school.

Sarah Madden, who works for Sheffield-based national training provider Interserve Learning and Employment, had good grades when she finished Year 11 but chose a vocational route.

She began as an administrator at an engineering company, moving through sales to become a personal assistant to a regional manager at a car dealership.

As an apprentice she learned new skills while working. And she is still learning, having enrolled onto a level 4 apprenticeship in business management - equivalent to a foundation degree.

She said: “My apprenticeship opened up these roles to me and really allowed me to learn what an employer expected of me.

“I’ve committed myself to developing my career as a personal assistant.

Sarah has enrolled on a level 4 apprenticeship.

Sarah has enrolled on a level 4 apprenticeship.

“Having held my current position at Interserve for 13 years this March, I felt that I was ready to take on a new challenge.

“The opportunity was there for me to enhance the skills I have acquired over the years and have those formally recognised with a qualification, and I thought, why not?”

Sarah is now executive assistant to the senior team at Interserve. Her usual working day involves maintaining and managing complex diaries for directors, organising travel itineraries and accommodation, conducting research tasks and dealing appropriately with all forms of communications on behalf of the team.

As an Interserve employee foundation ambassador, Sarah volunteers for several good causes. Her most recent project helped to raise over £1,100 for Hallam FM’s Mission Christmas.

Sarah’s manager at Interserve Chris Peel said: “Sarah is an intrinsic part of our team, and to see her work to continually develop herself is admirable. Her commitment to self-development is something we encourage at Interserve and the benefits for those who do are often extensive.”

Johnston Press titles in South Yorkshire and the North Midlands, including The Star and the Doncaster Free Press have launched an awards scheme to recognise the increasing value of apprenticeships to the success of the region.

For more details, including online entry form and criteria for each category, visit

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