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. 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:

Case Studies

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!

Please read the case studies below:

Photo of Stephanie LensonMy 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 to 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!

My Name is Lace Pickett and I am 19 years old. Before becoming an apprentice here I took part 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.

Photo of Paul MastersMy 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.

Photo of Ben MailesMy 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 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 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.

Photo of Nathan OatesMy 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.

Photo of Georgia StantonMy 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

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.

My Name is Jordan James and I am 23 years old. Before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Council I was working in Newquay as an insurance broker.

I started at Cornwall Council in June 2017 aged 22. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council because a friend who works at the Council recommended it to me. I wanted to find a job where there is room to advance, and Cornwall Council gives you the opportunity to develop and grow into a career.  My apprenticeship is with the Information Services team (IT) and I have worked with the service desk and business applications team.
In my day to day role I provide a varying level of IT support to employees at Cornwall Council. This can be via the telephone or our online ticketing programme.

As an apprentice at Cornwall Council I have undertaken many different in-house courses; I have completed application and interview support, team building, communication, and problem solving courses. I am also completing my Level 3 IT qualification at college.

Working for Cornwall Council is pretty good, I really like it. There are lots of benefits working for a big organisation. There are also pathways to progress into careers with other employees sharing their knowledge and experiences to help.

The best thing about being an apprentice is the opportunities that are given to you to move around different teams in the IT service. If I had been a normal service desk employee I might not of had this type of opportunity. I can now draw on these experiences in the future when applying for roles in the IT service.

I have been supported throughout my apprenticeship by my team, managers, other Council apprentices and by everyone who is involved in the Council’s apprenticeship programme.

In the future I hope to gain employment in the IT service at Cornwall Council. 

My name is Laura Sutton, before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Laura SuttonCouncil I was at college and had a cleaning job. After I finished college I got a work experience placement for 2 months as an assistant accountant, this made me realise that I wanted to have a job in something to do with finance. I started to look for an apprenticeship but the right one didn’t come up. Over that Christmas I started working as a temp in retail, once I completed my employment contract I started looking for apprenticeships.

I applied for a level 2 business admin apprenticeship with the employment support team (payroll) at Cornwall Council. It was the perfect apprenticeship for me. I was successful and started my apprenticeship in February 2017 aged 19. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council as I wanted to do something better than I already was. I want to be able to get a proper job so one day I can get a mortgage and go on nice holidays.

I have completed a lot of Cornwall Council in house training throughout my apprenticeship. I have followed the apprenticeship development programme. I also attended Excel training which really helped in me in my job role.

I feel secure working for Cornwall Council. The people I work with are lovely. There are so many training opportunities.

I really enjoyed being an apprentice. The apprentice network group meetings kept me in touch with other apprentices in an informal meeting space.

I felt supported through the most part of my apprenticeship. There was times I got confused with the college work, but there was always someone to contact if I needed them.

Recently I started a new job at Cornwall Council. I now have a permanent contract with the Academy schools employment – transactional service team.

I’m not sure on my future plans, but for now I am enjoying my new role and the potential progression routes.

My Name is Ethan Budge and I am 17 years old. I was at school studying my GCSEs before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Council. I started my apprenticeship 2 days after my last GCSE exam. I knew I wanted to go straight into an apprenticeship after I left school.

I started at Cornwall Council in June 2017 aged 16. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council as it was recommended that they are good employer and there are always opportunities here to develop and move up.  My apprenticeship is with the Finance Processing team.

With the Finance Processing team I process invoices that are sent to the Council. I also deal with invoice queries and help support the telecare billing, which is setting up and removing customers.

As well as going to college to study for my AAT Level 2 and 3, I have been completing the Council’s learning and development programme for apprentices. I have also booked onto Microsoft Excel and Outlook courses to help me learn more about the programmes and how I can use them in my role.

I am really enjoying working at Cornwall Council. It is a lot different to what I thought it was going to be like. I thought it was going to be a bit dull/boring but it’s not!

The best thing about being an apprentice is I am able to complete courses at the Council that links with my role and my apprenticeship. I am also not treated any differently to any other Council employee or anyone else in the team.

I have been supported throughout my apprenticeship by my line manager.

Once I have completed my two year apprenticeship I will hold an AAT Level 3 qualification. With this I hope to gain employment in the Cornwall Council accountancy team and complete my AAT Level 4 and Charted Accountancy qualifications.


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


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