Huw Chapman


The most important asset in a business is the people. In order to enhance business performance, you need to develop the team around you.

What led you to work at PETA?

Whilst with a previous company I never lost my passion for engineering and the role apprenticeships can play in a company. I volunteered to support the local LEP to help promote apprenticeships and spent 9 years actively encouraging organisations to develop young people. This experience helped cement my belief that the most important asset in a business is the people - in order to enhance business performance, you need to develop the team around you.

When the position of CEO at PETA became available, I thought carefully about applying and how the core values I held reflected the core values of PETA as an organisation. PETA links people development to business performance; it has a strong apprenticeship heritage and a good link to engineering. Throughout my working life, I have worked with organisations that have a reputation for quality products and PETA clearly has that. On top of this, I could also use my HR qualification as well.

What is your role at PETA and what drives you to do what you do?

I am the CEO and my biggest driver is a desire is to see PETA build on its outstanding foundations of quality and use this to ensure the organisation has a positive future. For me seeing business success linked to the quality and great commercial outcomes is really important. I want to see PETA succeed so that we can make further investments in the organisation to maintain our position as a premier “people development” provider.

What knowledge or experience do you draw upon for your role?

The role is very varied and, having been a customer of PETA’s for many years, I want us to delight our customers so that they will stay with us for many years to come. Without our customers and members, we have no business so I draw on my experiences to try and help us ensure we maintain and develop these. I have led projects to streamline processes and use technology to achieve this and I am keen that we use this to the best of our ability.

How do you approach your role on a day-to-day basis? What skills are required?

Every day has a new business challenge. Often these are driven out of process problems and I believe these should be resolved by going and understanding the root cause and then trying to change the process, behaviour and address skills needs with training.

These business challenges are managed at the same time as working on strategic developments. However, the time dedicated to this can fluctuate as we have seen with COVID as this has delayed and meant we have had to change our strategic priorities.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

A friend once said to me that I have always been driven to make a difference. They suggested that I want to be seen as “an elder of society” and put something back into the community. I have always been involved in outside activities such as supporting British Industry with the CBI, the Solent LEP, a School Governor or the local CIPD. Having sadly being involved in closing a number of factories I want UK plc to be successful and in particular in the science and engineering sectors. Much of my work has been involved in supporting these areas. If we can have a strong economy it can be good for all of us.

From a personal standpoint, I also love to garden, go sailing and when possible get a ride out on a motorbike. As a father of 4 children, they are a key part of my life but as they are growing older now take up less time.

What are your personal values, and what is important to you?

I once met Dr Frank Dick who was the Head British Olympic Coach and he had an expression “you must strive to be the best you can be” and I think we should try to help people achieve this in whatever way we can. For me, we must be ethical and trustworthy so that helping others must be in a compliant way. However, when competing in business we must strive to win but always within the rules.