Paula's career travels to the top

Paula Barrett, head of retail at Sunderland-based Hays Travel, has been to 10 Downing Street to celebrate the success of UK apprenticeships.

The event, hosted by David Cameron, brought together some of the UK’s leading companies to celebrate the employment of thousands of apprentices across the country. The reception also took place to formally introduce the new, national Apprenticeship Delivery Board.

Paula began her career at Hays Travel 25 years ago on a two-year apprenticeship. After completing this in 1992, aged 18, she was awarded an NVQ in Travel Services and has since progressed up the career ladder to become the holiday company’s head of retail.

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She is now responsible for more than 120 retail branches, which employ about 850 people, from the Hays Travel head office in Sunderland.

Paula was one of the youngest branch managers to win ‘Branch of the Year’ in 1999.

Paula said: “I felt very proud to be invited to such a prestigious event at 10 Downing Street where careers like mine were celebrated. I hope this will inspire young people to take on an apprenticeship like I did.”

Hays Travel employed about 117 apprentices in 2015 and is planning on recruiting a higher number this year.

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The company offers apprenticeships in both its nationwide retail branches, as well as its head office in Sunderland. Hays Travel has its own training department and accredited NVQ assessors, which offer in-house training to all apprentices.

Applicants for this year’s Hays Travel’s apprenticeship scheme can apply online at