Charlotte O’Brien

Vocational Training route works for Charlotte

For data scientist and Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards 2019 finalist, Charlotte O’Brien, the numbers are all starting to add up!

Charlotte started her career in the Data Science Campus at the Office for National Statistics in Newport and the completion of a Level 4 Data Analysis Higher Apprenticeship six months ahead of target was recognised by the ONS who rewarded her with a permanent position.

A six-month temporary promotion to Senior Executive Officer with ONS has already followed and Charlotte now works as part of a team within GNI Methods and Research. This involves improving the compilation of National Accounts, a top priority of Economic Statistics Group in the coming year.

Charlotte’s efforts have been recognised as a finalist in the Higher Learner of the Year category of this year’s VQ Awards, which are designed to reward individuals and organisations for their commitment, hard work and achievements.

The 25-year-old’s passion for maths and economics led her to university but she quickly decided that vocational study under the guidance of Cardiff-based ALS Training was better suited to her learning needs and she has not looked back.

Charlotte now helps present Analysing and Presenting Data training courses to ONS staff, helping raise standards within the organisation. She has also become a STEM ambassador for ONS which involves visiting local schools and colleges to share her vocational journey.
Her own learning path has taken her on to a second year in an Open University degree in Maths and Economics and hopefully a place on the inaugural Degree Apprenticeship in Applied Data Science later this year.

Data Science Campus@ONS Academic Manager Alison Adams said of Charlotte: “Her journey through the apprenticeship to gaining a permanent promotion with ONS has been inspirational. Charlotte is focused and driven with clear career goals. She radiates positivity and has a zest for life.”

Charlotte said: “The Apprenticeship has been a platform on which to grow and add valuable analytical skills to ONS as well as the wider community.”

Richard Bassett, Programme Design and Delivery Manager at ALS Training, said: “Charlotte is the pinnacle of what is possible through vocational learning. She has grabbed all learning opportunities presented to her with both hands, using it to demonstrate her considerable worth to the ONS. Promoted twice within the space of a year, she is responsible for aspects of some of the most important statistics produced for the UK government.”

Now in their 12th year, the VQ Awards celebrate those who use technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success. A Vocational Qualification – VQ- award is a symbol of dedication towards your chosen profession. The awards help us to celebrate those Welsh learners, trainers and employers who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.

There are four award categories – VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year, VQ Higher Learner of the Year, VQ Trainer of the Year and VQ Employer of the Year – which encompass the spectrum of learning, training and employment.
Also shortlisted finalists in the Higher category are Jonathan Thomas and Reagan Locke.

The winners will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the National Museum Cardiff on May 15. The ceremony coincides with VQ Day, which celebrates vocational achievement and the benefits of technical, practical and vocational learning to both the individual and the Welsh economy.

The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru/CollegesWales, Qualifications Wales and the Education Workforce Council. The Welsh Government’s funding has support from the European Social Fund.

Picture caption: VQ Higher Learner of the Year category finalist, Charlotte O’Brien.

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