Our Apprentice Newsletter and Case Studies

Our Apprentice Newsletter

In November 2016, our first ever cohort of 13 apprentices started in various different roles within Cornwall Council. Since they started a network group has been formed, which allows them to meet up and discuss their college work, organise fundraising and volunteering and support each other throughout their apprenticeship journeys. They have named their network - The Inner Circle. Since they have started, they have formed their own newsletter, detailing the working lives of our Cornwall Council apprentices. Adam Nicholls, a Level 3 Digital Marketing apprentice has taken on the editorial role and doing a brilliant job. It is a great way to see what the apprentice’s daily work entails and also the apprentice’s point of view about various topics. We hope that as more apprentices start their careers with Cornwall Council, they will contribute their ideas to the newsletter too. Please follow the links below to the editions of the newsletter:

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Here are some case studies of our apprentices – new and old. They highlight the experiences each apprentice has had. They all have one thing in common – they are ambitious, hardworking, determined and committed to success!

Stephanie Lenson - Level 3 Apprentice

My name is Stephanie Lenson and I am 22, with 2 kids – Michael and Ellie. I studied an access to Higher Education course and got a place at Uni. In the end I decided not to go as I didn’t want be far away from my children every day, leaving my house before they got up and coming home after they were in bed.

I started at Cornwall Council In November 2015, aged 21. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council because I thought they would be a good employer to work for. My apprenticeship was in HR (Human Resources), within the Talent Team.

I support my team with our work experience programme and I also help to look after our new apprentices – including their inductions!  As well as going to college I have also done some extra training courses. With college I have gained a level 2 functional skill in ICT and through the Councils Learning and Development Team, I have learned to use Microsoft Excel, Word and Outlook to a higher level.

Working for Cornwall Council is great, I like it here. I like my team and the job I do. I feel proud every day when putting on my Cornwall Council lanyard.

The best thing about being an apprentice is that it is a good way of gaining a formal qualification while gaining some on the job experience which will help me to progress my career further.

I have felt extremely supported through my apprenticeship, my manager is awesome. My team are lovely and very supportive. Now I am a Level 3 apprentice, within the same team. I am dealing with the same work as before, but with far more responsibility. In the future I want to be a manager in HR. Watch this space!

Lace Pickett - Level 2 Apprentice

My Name is Lace Pickett and I am 19 years old. Before becoming an apprentice here I took part in the in The Princes Trust programme which is a 13 week programme which aims to get young people into work. I was struggling to find work. The Princes trust taught me skills/qualifications, and allowed me to mix with different people. I helped my local community by building a vegetable garden at a local primary school and walked 10 miles to raise money for a local day centre. I really enjoyed the Princes trust programme.

I started at Cornwall Council in February 2017. I would have never thought about applying for an apprenticeship until I did my work experience here – which was a real eye opener. Whilst on my work experience placement in December, Cornwall Council advertised some apprentice vacancies - one of which was in the planning department where my work experience placement was. I applied for the apprenticeship and was successful! I joined the Customer Relations team in the planning department.

I currently sort out the post for the planning department in St Austell, I go to the post room every day I collect the post from the post room log it and distribute it to the different planning departments in St Austell or I send it onto the relevant planning office in Cornwall. I am also helping with Con 29’s and I am undertaking research for my team.

I have already done some validation training as part as my role. I have signed up for the corporate welcome event for apprentices. I am looking forward to meeting the other apprentices from my cohort.

Working for Cornwall Council is good. I like the flexibility of working 9-5 or 8-4 as long as I have done my contracted hours.

The best thing about being an apprentice is that I haven’t been thrown into the deep end. My team are slowly introducing me into my job role allowing me to be able to balance my workload and expand my knowledge. I am feeling very supported during my apprenticeship, I have a ‘buddy’ in my team who also undertook a level 2 apprenticeship. We are sharing experiences which I am finding really helpful.

When my apprenticeship is finished, I would hope to gain employment within Cornwall Council or progress onto a higher apprenticeship.

Paul Masters - Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods

My name is Paul Masters and I started an apprenticeship with North Cornwall District Council in 1981. I had just completed a year at Art College. I had to decide whether to continue with a degree at Art College, to be a pilot in the Air Force or to become an Environmental Health trainee. I chose the latter with North Cornwall District Council. I applied for an apprenticeship because my mother told me to. I didn’t know what I wanted to do career wise - so thought it would be a good idea to try this job.

I started in September 1981 as a trainee in Environmental Health/ Public Health in Camelford.

As a trainee I completed a 3 year sandwich course to get my diploma in Environmental Health. Whilst working for the Council I have undertaken lots of formal training some of the qualifications including; diploma in acoustics and noise control, management, emergency management, NVQ Level 8 in strategic  management and a senior police commanders course.

Working for Cornwall Council is fun. There is always a challenge, always a lot on - but it can be tough. Ultimately, working for Cornwall Council is a good achievement.

The best thing about being an apprentice is the ability to go out and job shadow, there was so much variety; one day it might have been Housing, the next could have been a Health and Safety accident.

I felt supported throughout and I had a senior mentor, but was also supported by lots of people because of the variety and working with lots of different people. I was very quickly given responsibility.

Now I am Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods. Here I have a wide view not just of my own directorate but also of how my directorate fits into the Council as a whole. I am interested how this sits with national policy and what we need to do to change for future needs.

It’s more about shaping what is coming next, rather than managing what is happening now.

Jenna Bennet – Level 3 Apprentice

Before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Council I had completed my Master’s degree in International Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands and graduated in 2014. Once I had finished my degree in the Netherlands I came back to the UK and started looking for employment, I found that I was struggling to get any legal jobs. I had my degree, but no experience so I decided that I would look for an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship would allow me to gain the office experience I needed and get paid.

I started working for Cornwall Council in October 2016. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council because I thought it would be a good way to get my foot in the door for a Legal career. My apprenticeship was with Cornwall Legal.

As well as going to college for my apprenticeship I have also been completing my Level 2 functional skills IT with the college. I have also been doing some formal training within the council as part of my apprenticeship programme. I have done confidence building and professionalism in the work place training. Since gaining employment with Cornwall Legal I have done some training on managing long documents.

Working for Cornwall Council is great. Everyone is very friendly there is a ‘real’ team environment in the office. My manager is also being very supportive with my personal development goals.

I have really enjoyed being part of an apprentice cohort group with other apprentices who started at the same time as me. It has been really good to complete training with other apprentices.

I have really good support from my team and my awesome manager has been really supportive towards my development at work and my personal development. The Talent Strategy Team have been very supportive, Steph and Jamie are very approachable if I ever need to know anything. Miles and Cathy from the Learning and Development team have been very helpful whilst we have been training with them.

I gained employment with Cornwall Legal in December 2016 as a Legal Secretary. My duties are to take minutes, format contracts, seal deeds. Part of my role is also to be PA to our commercial business partner.

In the future I would like to become a fee earner with Cornwall Legal, to do this I will need to complete an ILEX level 6 or a LPC qualification.   

Ben Mailes - Level 3 Apprentice

My name is Ben Mailes. I studied a BTEC Level 3 in Applied Science (Forensic Science) at Truro College before starting my apprenticeship at Cornwall Council. I chose to not to go to University because I wanted to complete an apprenticeship within Cornwall. I also wanted to give something back to Cornwall.

I started at Cornwall Council in March 2016 aged 19. I started as a Level 2 business admin apprentice in the Strategic Transport Team.

I have undertaken many different tasks, for example, I deal with finance for the team such as raising purchase orders, admin tasks such as setting up meetings, booking meeting rooms and archiving. I also completed a project where I needed to find, review and record Cornwall Council civic items across Cornwall.

Initially, I went to college one day per week, for 6 weeks. I have done all of the Council’s mandatory online training. I have also completed the Councils advanced requisitioner online training. 

Working for Cornwall Council is good. It has a supportive and friendly environment to work in. The modern working practices and flexi hours scheme are very convenient, especially when I have key tasks to complete and build up extra hours.

The best thing about being an apprentice is gaining training and qualifications whilst earning money. Also meeting new people and finding out how an office works.

I felt supported throughout my apprenticeship.

Now am I am working between two teams; 1 day per week in Strategic Transport and 4 days in Waste Management. I have also started my level 3 NVQ.

I really enjoy working for a local government authority and after my apprenticeship I hope to gain a full time job with Cornwall Council. 

Adam Nicholls - Level 3 Apprentice

My name is Adam Nicholls and I am 21. I was studying multimedia journalism at university. I finished my first year at university and felt like I wasn’t doing very well. I started my second year at university but was unable to access some systems I needed to be able to complete my work. I was living in student accommodation and shared a house with seven other students. I wasn’t really happy at university; it wasn’t for me. I decide to leave and come home to Cornwall. I returned in December 2015 and started working in the retail sector, but didn’t really enjoy it.

I started working at Cornwall Council in November 2016, aged 20. I applied for an apprenticeship because I wasn’t happy where I was working. My mum who works for Cornwall Housing suggested that I started looking for an apprenticeship. I started to look for apprentice vacancies and found a Level 3 Digital Marketing apprenticeship.  I applied and I was successful! My apprenticeship is with the Communications Team.

As an apprentice digital marketer, I create social media posts for Cornwall Council; I help to create and edit the members newsletter which gets sent out to all the Councillors on a fortnightly basis; I edited last month’s (July 17) Thinking differently newsletter which gets sent out to all staff at Cornwall Council; I am the editor of the Inner Circle apprentice newsletter; I edit short films and I have written marketing strategies. I went to college for 12 day-long sessions to complete the mandatory units for my apprenticeship. After this all the apprenticeship work and evidence can be produced as part of what I do at work.

Working for Cornwall Council is different to how I expected. It is nice to feel like I am doing something; I feel like I am in the centre of it all. I work at New County Hall and sit on the same level as the Chief Executive and the Chairman of the Council. It’s surreal that they will just walk through the office and sometimes sit on the same bank of desks as me. Before I worked here I thought that the council was detached; it’s good to see how closely Kate Kennally and the Councillors work with the departments across the Council.

The best thing about being an apprentice is you’re doing something; it’s a foot in the door. You get to gain a formal and recognised qualification and experience a ‘proper job’.

I have felt supported through my apprenticeship by my team and by the Talent Strategy team.

I am very flexible for the future – I don’t truly know what it holds. Hopefully I can stay at Cornwall Council and progress my career in the Communications team.  

Nathan Oates - Level 3 Apprentice

My name is Nathan Oates and I am 23. Before becoming an apprentice I was working for the NHS as a temp, I worked across different NHS teams and locations. Work wasn’t always guaranteed, this wasn’t sustainable for me.

I started working at Cornwall Council in November 2016 aged 23. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council because I heard it was a good place to work, with good development opportunities. My apprenticeship is with the safeguarding team within the Children’s Safeguarding Unit.

I have a mixture of tasks and duties. I do the IPC and RCPC conference invite; I then save reports from these conferences once they have been held. I book rooms and venues for meetings; I have to contact external venues to book them - I let them know what is going, how many people are attending and if need I cancel rooms and venues.

As an apprentice I have completed some of the Councils corporate learning and development this includes; the corporate apprentice learning and development programme, information governance workshop and Microsoft Excel. Also with my college I have completed a Level 2 functional skill in ICT.

The best thing about being an apprentice is the working environment, my workload and responsibility has increased throughout my apprenticeship. I have never been overwhelmed with the amount of work I’ve had to do. This has helped to learn and develop in my role. 

I have felt very supported throughout my apprenticeship as my team are very friendly and willing to help and support me when I need them to.

In the future I hope to gain full time employment, hopefully at the Council and within the Children’s Safeguarding Unit. 

Imogen Day - Level 2 Apprentice

My Name is Imogen Day and before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Council I was reading biology at university and completing my officers training with the Army Reserves. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do once I got back home from university, before I had always wanted to be in the Army but this was no longer an option for me due to personal circumstances preventing this. A friend recommended that I started looking at apprenticeships.

I started working for Cornwall Council in October 2016, aged 22. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council because I thought it would be a good foot in the door at a successful organisation, which also has good opportunities for existing members of staff. My apprenticeship was in the Natural Environment Team.

Since starting with Cornwall Council in 2016 I have undertaken various different learning and development opportunities, the training which I have been on includes;

  • Confidence building
  • Project Management
  • Microsoft Outlook and Excel

The best part of being an apprentice was going to college and meeting new people. Through my college course I have made friendships with people who I wouldn’t have met at work.

I felt supported throughout my apprenticeship. My line managers have always been approachable. The admin staff within my teams have always supported me. I have had really good support with my career development.

In July 2017 I gained employment at Cornwall Council as a development officer in the Neighbourhood Planning Team. As a development officer I assist in the planning process for town planning. I support writing neighbourhood plans and policy and complete legal compliance checks.

Working for Cornwall Council is great; I have enjoyed the flexible working. I like the ability to work out of different Council locations.

In the future I will hopefully be completing my MSC in planning which will be funded by Cornwall Council. I would also love to progress my career in development management. 

Georgia Stanton – Level 2 Business Admin Apprentice

My name is Georgia Stanton and I am 20 years old.  Before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Council I was unemployed.  I never had a job before, and, as I was claiming benefits I had to do some work experience. I did a 4 week administration placement with the Jobcentre and a longer administration placement through Working Links.

After my work placement I decided that I wanted a career in administration. I only knew the basics in administration so I started looking for apprenticeships, and I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council.

I applied for a level 2 business administration apprenticeship with the Children and Family service. I wanted to complete my apprenticeship with this team as I wanted to be part of the process that helps people. I feel fulfilled after work knowing that I have helped people. I started at Cornwall Council in April 2017, aged 19.

I support my team with general administration; I answer the phone, respond to emails, do filing and take the minutes for team meetings. I also arrange accommodation and transport for service users and I process exceptional-needs payments.

As well as going to college to complete my NVQ I have also completed some of Cornwall Council’s corporate training. I have completed my Insights Discovery which has helped me understand how I work and how to communicate to others.  For my job role I had to complete MOSAIC training – our bespoke system for service user information. I have also completed application and interview training which has helped me become prepared to complete job applications and be ready for an interview.

Being an apprentice is great! I like being able to earn money whilst learning and gaining an official and recognised qualification. I’ve loved being part of an apprentice network group, this has given me the chance to meet other apprentices and make friends.

I have felt very supported throughout my apprenticeship by my manager, the Learning and Development team, the Talent Strategy team and by other apprentices.

In the future I hope to progress my career in Cornwall Council and hopefully move into Human Resources.   

Katie Williams - Level 2 Apprentice

My name is Katie Williams, before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Council I worked in the retail industry. I worked in retail for 10 years I found my work had little/ no variation and progression was slow.

I started my apprenticeship at Cornwall Council in March 2017, aged 26. I started to look for an apprenticeship as I needed a change from retail and I always wanted to go into an admin based job. As I started looking at apprenticeships, Cornwall Council was recruiting an apprentice cohort. I decided to apply as I have always heard good things about Cornwall Council.

My apprenticeship is with the Capital Projects team. Working here is completely different, I get to work with different people on different projects, and I have helped to support road and rail improvement projects. As part of my role I go on site visits to ensure that contractors will meet our deadlines. I also complete spreadsheets and legal documents.

As well as going to college to complete my NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration I have also completed my Level 2 functional skills (Maths, English and ICT) with the college.  In addition, I have completed my CSCS certificate this allows me to go on site for site visits. I have also undertaken and completed the corporate Learning and Development training programme for apprentices; as part of this programme I have completed Microsoft Excel and Outlook training.

It’s really good working for the Council. I feel encouraged to try different things; I am being pushed outside of my comfort zone. I also like the way you can do things at your own pace.

The best thing about being an apprentice is working with my team and meeting new clients. I sit in on client meetings, which allows to see the process through to the end.

I feel supported through my apprenticeship – my line manager and my team have been very supportive. They are all really positive and make sure that I am not left out.

In the future I hope to gain full time employment at Cornwall Council and I would like to be able to stay in my current team. If this is not possible I will look for employment across the different Council departments .

If you still have some questions, please get in touch with us at talentandredeployment@cornwall.gov.uk or call 01872 324600