A Swindon apprentice has been shortlisted for a prestigious award after becoming an “invaluable” member of her team despite the challenges of joining during the pandemic.
Michaela Kalupa is a finalist in the Apprentice of the Year category of the Wiltshire Life Awards 2023.
The 23-year-old is an apprentice administrator with Chippenham-based renewable energy company Good Energy.
Michaela joined in August 2021 and had few opportunities to meet any of her new colleagues face-to-face until January 2022, having to work from home instead.
Despite these difficulties she has become a valued colleague, working across both the People team and the Talent & Development team.
Michaela said: “It was quite a challenge to join during the pandemic when working life changed so much – and so quickly.
“My recruitment, induction and training had to be done remotely and I didn’t have the usual opportunities to make connections with colleagues in the office, where you might chat to the person at the desk alongside you or bump into people in the kitchen.
“So I had to make a conscious effort to reach out to colleagues, to put myself out there and build relationships.
“Looking back, the difficulties helped me in the long run, as I had a better understanding of what new employees might be experiencing when they joined.
“I knew the challenges they would face in taking on a new role at a new company when they might not have a chance to meet their colleagues for a while, and how important it was to introduce them to people and make sure they were fully engaged.”
Michaela is currently studying for a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Level 3 apprenticeship at New College in Swindon.
Good Energy provides time for her to study for an afternoon each week, as well as allowing her to reclaim the hours spent at evening classes and finding new ways to give her projects and tasks which allow her to put her learning into practice.
Michaela added: “Good Energy have been really supportive. I couldn’t have asked for a better employer, and I’m able to earn money while also gaining a new qualification.
“I’ve learned so much already, and it’s great to be part of a purpose-driven business which is making such a huge difference to our planet.”
Good Energy people partner Hannah Biffen is her line manager in the People team.
Hannah said: “Starting a new career in the middle of a pandemic while having to work from home would have been a challenge for anyone, but Michaela has become an invaluable member of the team.
“She is professional, proactive and self-driven and it’s been rewarding to see her grow and build her confidence, using the skills she learns from her college course as well as from her day-to-day role.
“She has flourished so much and is a true asset to the business.”
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in March.