Apprentice of The Year Finalist Nominations!

‘Apprentice of The Year’ is an extremely important annual event to Intequal which helps to support and raising the awareness of apprenticeships within the IT and Digital sectors. However, it’s also important to us to share the incredible inspiring stories and journeys from our nominated apprentices this year!  We want YOU to vote for who you think should be crowned this year, as part of the National Apprenticeship Week 2022!  with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place up for grabs! 

Sara Pozas Servando

Sara Pozas joined us at Adopstar on the 20th September 2021 as an Ad Operations Executive, undertaking the level 3 in digital marketing apprenticeship. Since her very first day, Sara has shown an extremely high drive to learn about working with all our clients, to be involved with the team and push herself and those around her to achieve the best possible results, not only for our clients but also within her own learning and work on her apprenticeship course. Sara has very quickly picked up work in her first 3 months with Adopstar that would often take around 6 months to fully grasp and this is down to her dedication to work hard and soak up information, expanding her knowledge daily.

Sara has integrated so well into a team, of which most are very much younger than her, which I imagine could feel intimidating for some, without a hitch. Sara is very well liked and respected by everyone at Adopstar. Sara completed her probationary period without any issues and we are sure that there are many more great things Sara will bring to the table over the coming years.

The main reason, however, that I would like to nominate Sara for apprentice of the year is that, not only has Sara made an instant impact here at Adopstar with her work, she somehow manages to balance this with learning the ins and outs of the Ad Operations industry, how we as a business operate with our clients, her apprenticeship work, running her own business and also raising her ASD child. Because of this, Sara should be seen as an inspiration to all of those who are considering taking up an apprenticeship but are not sure if they have the time to be able to do it. Despite having such a large amount on her plate at all times, Sara never shows signs of being stretched or stressed and always gives her all in the client work she completes and her apprenticeship assignments. It is testimony to her work ethic and quality of work produced, that Sara has already been assigned one of our highest profile clients, something which would again, usually take around 6 months of training to be confident working on. I honestly could not think of anyone better to nominate as Sara shows true passion for the job and her personal life which makes her a very unique individual.

Ben Field – Head of Operations

A Message from Sara…

When you are 40 years old, changing your career can be a bit scary. I have previously done a degree but the pressure of starting a new full-time job was too much for me to handle, especially when English is not my first language, having to balance my family life with being a mum of two children – one of them with Special needs – and, having my own small business as a graphic designer.

When I first heard about apprenticeships I thought that it was a great opportunity for me but I was probably too old for that and I thought that nobody would take me on as an apprentice but gladly I was mistaken. Adopstar gave me the opportunity to join the Ad Operations team, giving me the skills and the support to do the job and enough time to work towards a Level 3 in Digital Marketing qualification to aid build my cv.

In these last three months, I have been able to complete my probationary period and now I feel comfortable directly dealing with some of our highest-profile clients while knowing that I have the support of everyone in Adopstar if I need it.

In this time I’ve been awarded a certificate for the highest percentage of first responses within the company and I’ve had great feedback related to my progress from my manager which makes me extremely happy to have chosen this path and looking forward to continue improving on my role and help Adopstar to grow in the advertising industry too.

Ryan Lloyd

Ryan Lloyd joined Shoothill Software ( in Shrewsbury in September 2020 as an ‘Level 3 Digital Marketer Apprentice’ and from the moment he first joined us, he has shown immense skill, ability to learn independently and above all a keen willingness for hard work.  

Shoothill is a custom software developer and as such, we build specialised business software systems for a myriad of business and industries ranging from building firms, online newspapers, sock manufacturers to billing systems for large water companies in the UK, as well as flood insurance firms in the USA.  This means that our development team work on many projects at the same time, either writing new code, or supporting, improving or maintaining our customer’s business systems and so marketing what we do, has always been a problem as we don’t want to appear as a ‘Jack of all trades’, which is not good.

So, from day one we decided to throw Ryan ‘in the deep end’ working on marketing our projects and skills worldwide and in the 15 years I have run Shoothill, it’s not often I can say that one person has really made a difference.  For his first project Ryan was tasked with documenting all of our previous work (100’s of projects) and this can be seen here :  Not only that, but Ryan has practically written everything here and here .  Ryan has also single handed marketed Housebuilder Pro ( as well as doing all the graphics for all our social media posts both for Shoothill (check our @shooothill on Twitter and LinkedIn & Facebook) and Housebuilder Pro (ditto).

Today, I have been informed that Ryan passed his apprenticeship qualification with InterQual, and we are so pleased with him we are sponsoring him to take a degree level next.  I wanted to write this to help him achieve ‘Apprentice Of The Year’ because I am so pleased to say that after only 15 months after he joined the company, Ryan is respected by all of us including Simon Jeavons (our COO) for his deep commitment to digital marketing,  his easy ability to work with all of us (who in some cases are at least twice his age), and his eagerness at all times to always ‘go the extra mile’ in everything he has ever undertaken for us.

For me personally as his MD, I would be totally delighted for him if Ryan was awarded ‘Apprentice Of The Year’ as not only do I think that he thoroughly deserves it, should he be successful, it will only benefit him in his career in the years to come, and above all, apart from the pleasure it is to see a young lad mature into essential member of my team, and for me to be able reward him with a pay rises and other benefits, Ryan being awarded this accolade is 100% justified because in all our opinions here at Shoothill, he really has earned it.  Put simply, I cannot think how Ryan could have performed any better than he has, and he really is genuinely outstanding.

If anyone would like to speak with me further about why I think Ryan Lloyd is my ‘Apprentice Of The Year’, then please call / email me on the details below.


Rod Plummer MD of Shoothill

A Message from Ryan…

In the months leading up to my interview with Shoothill in September 2020, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career. All I knew was that I was interested in business and had a fascination for psychology, having studied both subjects at school. Marketing seemed like a suitable career with these interests in mind. That interview was a shot-in-the-dark moment – it was at that point where everything changed.

Over 12 months later and I am more driven than ever. My course and my colleagues have helped me progress into the Digital Marketer I am today. Going into work every day and being surrounded by so much experience has had such an impact on my professional development and honestly, I don’t think there could have been a better way to start my career.

My thanks goes to Intequal and the guys at Shoothill for such a fantastic year.

Gemma Moreing

I’m very proud of Gemma & it’s such a fantastic achievement that she has been nominated for the award!

Over the course of her apprenticeship, Gemma has made a huge impact on the shape of business information across the organisation, against a backdrop of significant change within the business and in her own personal life.

Publica offers an alternative delivery model for Public Services, operating as a Teckal for 4 councils and a number of other organisations. Publica includes a full range of services for a number of clients, ranging from operational delivery of public services to commissioning and assurance for clients. Publica has recognised that data and Business Information is at the heart of supporting our staff to deliver public services that meet the needs of local communities. 

Gemma has been at the heart of developing our Business Information capability and has tirelessly innovated and driven the capability forwards, using the skills from her apprenticeship to delivery real value for the organisation and the communities they serve. Thanks to Gemma, our understanding of a number of key services, including Planning, Car Parking and Regulatory Services across the partnership has been significantly improved. This has led to very significant improvements in relationships between elected members and the organisation as they have a common view of issues and successes for the first time. Services have dramatically improved in terms of their effectiveness and responsiveness to customers, allowing improvement work to reduce processing times by over 60% in some critical areas and determine where organisational policy can be altered to provide significant income streams in waste and assets.   

Gemma has also made fundamental impacts to the way in which we provide assurance to our shareholders.
This work has acted as a catalyst to enable cross party working groups on performance and service standards.  Despite this appearing like a long list of achievements, it does go some way to demonstrating how significant a role Gemma and deployment of her skills have played in changing business understanding and processes, including the core culture of the business.

Against a backdrop of huge success and achievement, the most endearing and important attribute Gemma has is fantastic interpersonal skills and a true sense of humility and empathy in the way she works with others. She has to simultaneously work with a very wide range of stakeholders, including the public, staff, senior manager and councillors. Throughout her interactions with these groups, many of which are very challenging in terms of their needs and approach, she always manages to have hugely positive interactions and collaborative outcomes. The same applies to her approach to team leadership and management, successfully obtaining a new managerial post during the apprenticeship. The team always feel supported and motivated to achieve their best, whilst being driven to develop their skills.     

Overall I’m delighted that Gemma has been nominated as ‘Apprentice of the Year’, she really has demonstrated that she thoroughly deserves the nomination and the power of the scheme in transforming the public sector. She also has a fantastic attitude, which is a rare quality in her field and has achieved all of the above whilst preparing to become a mum for the first time! I really can’t think of anyone who deserves the nomination more – I want to thank Gemma for everything she has achieved and the scheme for the support it has given her.

Stuart Rawlinson – Business Manager

A Message from Gemma…

Undertaking a work placed apprenticeship has been great for both my employer, Publica and myself. I have been able to utilise the tools I have learnt during the course in the production of analysis and BI to the benefit of the business whilst developing my skillset and developing professionally. I have learnt a great deal including new techniques for data visualisation, types of analysis and alternative programming languages.  

I started my Level 4 Apprenticeship in Data Analytics when I was a Resource Officer in October 2020. Since then, I have been successful in my application to become the Business Information Lead. I am sure that my commitment to obtain the qualification and the skills I have learnt during it were instrumental in me getting my ideal role. I feel like I’ve come a long way!

I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is considering a qualification in his or her field. The benefits to employee and employer are excellent and the journey you undertake is challenging but highly rewarding.

Katie Townsend

Katie was an exemplary apprentice. Not only did she complete her apprenticeship in a very fast time, but she secured herself a well deserved distinction. Katie became an active part of the team immediately and quickly graduated to doing paid client work and even training other team members and clients. Katie is confident when talking to clients and even took on HubSpot onboarding projects on behalf of HubSpot and all when she was still an apprentice, which is simply unheard of. Katie became our Paid Media specialist, upskilling herself in her own time by taking various LinkedIn, Facebook and other relevant courses. Due to Katie’s commitment, dedication and always going the extra mile, post apprenticeship, we have employed Katie as our Head of Acquisition where she now heads up her own team. Katie has set the benchmark extremely high for all future apprentices and we are delighted to have her within the business. Katie is one special find and thoroughly deserves to win this award.

Emma Lynch – BBD Boom

A Message from Katie…


I started out by learning the basics of HubSpot’s marketing, sales and service hubs, as well as gaining some insights into search engine optimisation and how to set-up and report on paid advertising campaigns across Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. I was quickly given the opportunity to complete work for our clients, mentor and train new employees, and participate in client meetings, which really helped me to gain confidence. After 6 months, I started to complete HubSpot onboardings on behalf of HubSpot, which is where we help clients implement their marketing and sales processes within the platform and share best practises with them. I worked with some large clients, which was daunting but a great learning experience for me. Towards the end of my apprenticeship, I discovered that my true passion was in paid advertising, and I was given the opportunity to create a new acquisition strategy for the business, present in sales pitches for potential clients and lead two webinars!

I completed my apprenticeship in 14 months and now work full-time for BBD Boom as their Acquisition Specialist. I lead my own team and am responsible for looking after our acquisition clients, including planning, setting up and optimising their campaigns to generate the best results possible for our clients. Digital marketing is such an exciting industry that is ever-changing, meaning I always have the opportunity to gain more knowledge and further my skills – I couldn’t have made a better decision!

Don’t forget to use the voting form to vote for who you think should be crowned our ‘Apprentice of The Year‘ 2022.

Voting will be closed at midnight on the 9th of February 2022. Votes are limited to one per person and any votes cast outside of the deadline will not be counted. Join us on our social media on the 11th February to find out who our amazing winner will be! You can also feature on our social wall by using the hashtag ‘#LifetimeNAW22‘