National Apprenticeship Week 2019
This week (4-8 March) is National Apprenticeship Week 2019, an annual campaign that seeks to highlight the many benefits of apprenticeships for employers, individuals, local communities and the economy.
As those of you who've seen the brilliant NAW 2019 advert will know, this year is all about encouraging young people to 'blaze their own trail' and businesses to 'fire up' their apprenticeship schemes. Country-wide there are hundreds of apprenticeships on offer across a diverse range of age groups and fields, from practical skills to theoretical expertise.
Here at Wycombe District Council, things are no different: the apprenticeships we run are varied and cover a wide range of skills. We work with SEAC Apprenticeship Management (one of the top providers) to employ apprentices through the Government Apprenticeships Scheme, allowing them to obtain on-the-job training, study for nationally recognised qualifications and earn money while they learn.
In order to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, a handful of our apprentices have worked together to tell their stories and encourage you to consider the possibilities that can arise from completing an apprenticeship yourself or having an apprentice on your team.
Meet our apprentices
Francesca – Human Resources (Shared Support Services)
I started my journey at Wycombe District Council in 2018 as a human resource, processing and administration apprentice. Every day I'm gaining key skills through practical work activities and theory, and I find the work I undertake interesting and enjoyable. The knowledge I'm gaining here not only helps towards my qualification and my work but also towards my day-to-day life.
“I would recommend an apprenticeship as it is a practical way to acquire the key attributes of a certain job or workplace as well as attaining a qualification at the end of the period.”
I believe the skills that you obtain from an apprenticeship can aid progress within a certain workplace as well as let you build towards a successful future. Apprenticeships can also help you figure out what sector of work you are best suited to and highlight the areas in which you perform well and the areas that can be improved through training, enhancing you as a person.
Olivia – Democratic and Legal Services
I work within the legal department and the service regularly deals with a range of internal clients, each bringing a selection of challenges relating to matters of planning, litigation, contract and property. For me, a day could include attending court for a prosecution matter, assisting in the drafting of legal agreements (such as section 106s), producing and copying bundles in preparation for an appeal, and a wide range of other tasks. No one day is the same, which is exciting in its individual way.
“I have gained an advantage over other people my age as I have already experienced the working environment. On top of this, I am achieving a recognised qualification which is well valued and opens me up to a variety of options for my future career.”
I began my initial apprenticeship in September 2017, achieving a Level 3 Business Administration qualification by January 2019. Since then I have progressed further to a five year legal apprenticeship, which, when finished, means I will have completed my academic learning to becoming a charted legal executive lawyer – something I never thought I’d be progressing towards at the age of just 18. I’ve also found that doing an apprenticeship has hugely encouraged my personal development.
Stefania – Personal Assistant
I began my journey here at WDC in October 2018 and I'm currently studying for a Level 2 Business Administration qualification. I work within the PA team and the jobs involved vary from day to day. For instance, within my team we provide essential secretarial and personal assistance to the Council’s senior management team, and corporately for human resource-related meetings.
“I was attracted to completing an apprenticeship at Wycombe District Council because, due to me not being English, I thought working here would be an interesting role that would let me see how the local governments worked.”
The main tasks which I am responsible for are managing emails/correspondence, diary managements, dealing with elected members of the Council, and ensuring managers have the appropriate papers, information and details of locations prior to their meetings. Other tasks that I complete include copy typing, filing and overseeing distribution of incoming mail.
Valentina – Planning and Sustainability Services
I have been an apprentice planning technical officer for ten months and the planning department is responsible for all of the new buildings or any changes to existing building or the environment in the area. On completion of my course I will gain a BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Business Administration.
I would recommend doing an apprenticeship due to the many opportunities for personal progression; training courses could be offered on top of your qualification to help develop your curriculum-based knowledge.
Katie – Finance and Commercial
I work as a senior corporate fraud investigator and the department is responsible for the risk assessments, investigations and relevant sanctions of allegations of fraud. I am currently studying for a Level 5 Management Apprenticeship, which involves undertaking more of the managerial responsibilities and making formal decisions for the team. I began my apprenticeship in January 2018 and hope to complete it and gain the qualification by January 2020.
“I recommend completing an apprenticeship as a mature student as it enables you to gain knowledge whilst being flexible around work commitments and family life.”
The studying I do can take place at the Council, making it easier to complete my studies while working around my day to day job. Within Wycombe District Council there are many apprenticeships available; personally, I find it very rewarding as it's been a long time since I last completed a form of study and the knowledge I'm learning is invaluable.
Rebekah – Planning and Sustainability Services
I work within the planning and building control department, which serves to facilitate development and ensure that standards for building work are maintained and in accordance with legislation. I am currently completing a Level 3 Diploma within Business Administration, which I began in July 2018. As an apprentice planning technical officer I am involved with the processing of planning applications, providing customer support and carrying out general administration tasks.
Through this apprenticeship I have been able to develop my customer service skills further and broaden my career opportunities as well as gain a better insight in to what working life is like.
Israr – Finance
I currently work as a financial processing officer within the Council's finance team. My job entails a range of financial processing skills, such as processing income, payroll service and reconciliations. This involves ensuring that all payments made to Wycombe District Council are processed and allocated, and producing daily reports to confirm that all payments are processed in a timely and accurate manner.
“I started working at Wycombe District Council as an apprentice and I was studying AAT Level 3. After one year of hard working and commitment as an apprentice I was offered a permanent role within the Council.”
I'm being paid a salary while also being given the opportunity to carry on with my professional qualifications, along with a clear development and career path. I can recommend undertaking an apprenticeship to anybody who has just left school, as you can gain valuable work experience while studying.
Interested in taking the first steps towards your apprenticeship?
You'll find plenty of helpful advice over on the National Apprenticeship Week 2019 website.
You can also visit our partner SEAC Apprenticeship Management's website to search for council apprenticeships.