Apprentices at Hampshire County Council have been shadowing councillors and senior managers at work to get an insight into what it’s like running a £2 billion public service.
Organised by apprentices taking part in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge during National Apprenticeship Week (where the theme was ‘rise to the top’), this led to Apprentices Katie Marke, Shannon Nicholls and Ashley Murphy spending an afternoon working with the County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar.
Councillor Edgar said: “I really enjoyed working alongside our apprentices. They are a credit to this organisation. Opportunities like this are such a valuable experience for both sides – apprentices get to learn what being a councillor involves and I was able to learn more about how our officers in training are benefitting from their apprenticeship.
“Here at the County Council we’ve committed to providing 1,000 youth employment opportunities by 2018, including 850 apprenticeships, as part of our Youth Investment Programme, and it’s great for me to get a first-hand accounts of exactly what kind of experience we are offering our new young colleagues.
“It’s also been very rewarding showing Katie, Shannon and Ashley what goes into the big and often difficult decisions that we have to make at the Council. I hope they’ve found it useful to see the big picture.”
Katie Marke said: “It was a really amazing experience to be able to see what Councillor Edgar does. We got to watch some meetings and literally see history being made, which was exciting! He is a very busy man and we were very grateful that he was able to support us.”
Getting a feel for working life as a senior manager, apprentice Zoe Hughes spent a day shadowing Richard White, Head of the Council’s Integrated Business Centre, which looks after its Human Resources (HR), InformationTechnology (IT) and Finance services.
Zoe said: “I found it really interesting to see what members of the senior management team do on a daily basis and I met a lot of people, who were all very knowledgeable and supportive of my apprenticeship.”
A team of nine County Council apprentices is taking part in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, where teams across the country undertake a series of exciting and interactive work-related challenges to develop new skills and showcase their employer, by engaging with young people and businesses to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.
As part of the ongoing challenge, the apprentices are now turning their attention to an extensive voluntary project that includes a variety of fundraising activities, and a hands-on garden renovation project aiming to involve and inspire young people classed as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).