In the space of just three years, Lara Baldwin has gone from being a trainee to becoming a respected assessor with a caseload of more than 40 learners.
With a background in childcare, Lara, 30, has transferred her wealth of knowledge and experience into the work-based learning environment with one of Wales’ leading training providers, ACT Limited.
Based at ACT’s Ocean Park House centre in Cardiff, Lara delivers the Level 2, 3 and 5 Apprenticeships in Children's Care Learning and Development (CCLD) and Playwork qualifications to a mix of ages and seniority levels in nurseries and playgroup settings.
Launching her career soon after leaving school, Lara has achieved a BA Hons Degree in Education and Early Childhood Studies, swiftly followed by a Master’s in Education. While working at a nursery, she also completed her Higher Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Childcare to better understand and support the staff who she was mentoring.
In recognition of her work and personal development, Lara has been shortlisted for the Work-based Learning Assessor of the Year at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, the annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships.
Thirty-four finalists in a dozen categories are in the running for the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru, which will be presented at a high-profile ceremony at the new International Convention Centre Wales, Newport, on October 24.
The awards showcase the successes of the best learners, employers, tutors and assessors in Wales who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes.
Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru has Openreach, the UK’s digital network business, as its premier sponsor this year. The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
“Lara is passionately committed to improving her own knowledge and skills to ensure she delivers the highest standard of training to her learners,” said Helen Clarke, ACT Limited’s Children and Young People, Playwork and CCLD Route Manager.
Lara’s performance history is impeccable and she consistently exceeds the company’s ‘excellent’ assessor targets, whereby more than 90% of her learners complete their qualification.
“Despite being an assessor for a relatively short period of time compared to some, I really feel that I have found my passion,” said Lara. “I thrive on seeing others challenge and develop themselves to achieve success that they didn’t believe was possible. Watching learners meet and exceed their own expectations is why I love my job so much.
“Learning to me is not a one-off experience, rather a lifelong promise to ourselves to continue expanding our mind and striving to be the best we can.”
Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, congratulated Lara and all the other shortlisted finalists.
“Our Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship programmes are helping increasing numbers of people to gain the skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need,” he said.
“The Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of everyone involved in those programmes from our star apprentices and employers, to learning providers and trainees.”