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.

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. 

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 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.

My Name is Sophie Douglas I was 23 when I started my apprenticeship at Cornwall Fire and Rescue. Before becoming an apprentice I was working as a packaging designer for the Gro Company. I had previously completed a Product design degree and although enjoying this career, I wanted a more challenging role.

Sophie Douglas

I started at Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service in October 2017. I applied for an apprenticeship with Cornwall Fire and Rescue because it has always been an ambition of mine to join the Fire and Rescue Service and now with the apprenticeship I have the opportunity to do this while gaining multiple qualifications.

After 2 months intense competence training, I now work as an operational firefighter and form the 6th member of the operational crew during the week. A typical day involves training, checking equipment, community safety and responding to a wide variety of calls, such as car crashes, chemical spills, flooding, water rescue, general rescue and fires.

I have been following a training programme with the Fire Service and College; lectures, exercises and practical sessions. We are learning how to build confidence skills, dealing with the inevitable stresses of the role, maintaining fitness levels with personal training, learning about citizenship diversity and responding to a wide range of emergency incidents.
Working for Cornwall Fire and Rescue is fantastic! It has allowed me to fulfil my ambition, in an inclusive and supportive environment.

Being a Firefighter apprentice means every day is different. Every 3 months we move to a different fire station this allows us to gain operational experience on most of the specialised equipment in the service, as this varies from station to station as each area has different high risks.  We also get to work with a variety of different Watches (crews) so get to work with most of the firefighters in Cornwall.

I have felt very supported in my apprenticeship, all the firefighter apprentices regularly meet with our line manager, SM Guy Herrington, and also day to day have personal mentors on stations to support and discuss any issues that arise throughout the apprenticeship.

Once I complete my apprenticeship I would love to gain permanent employment within Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

My name is David Liddicoat before becoming an apprentice at Cornwall Council I was a complex manager for a local holiday park. I was in charge of the golf club, swimming pool and the park. After 7 years of working as a complex manager I was sadly made redundant. After I was made redundant I became a delivery driver as an in-between job whilst I decided what I wanted to do.

I started working for Cornwall Council in November 2017 aged 31. I applied for an apprenticeship at Cornwall Council because I wanted to get an AAT qualification and I thought an apprenticeship would be the best way to obtain the qualification.

My apprenticeship is within the finance service at Cornwall Council. I provide support to all the management accountants and service accountants, I also support grant claims and freedom of information requests.

I have undertaken lots of leaning and development opportunities at Cornwall Council. I have recently completed an ECDL qualification which the Council paid for. I have also completed in house training on Microsoft Excel and Outlook.

Working for Cornwall Council is great you get to work with lots of experienced people who are willing to help you with your work and study. The flexi time and the courses available are also amazing!

The best thing about being an apprentice is learning new skills and working towards a nationally recognised qualification.  I like the development programme the Council run for apprentices and the apprentice network group meetings.

I have felt very supported during my apprenticeship, my manager, the team and staff on the same floor have supported me. No one has ever said they are too busy to help.

I’m not really sure what I want to do after my level 3 apprenticeship. I think I would like to complete my AAT level 4 and become a management accountant or I could side step into a different team at the Council.

Megan Arnold

My name is Megan Arnold. Before becoming an apprentice I worked in retail, cafes and on a holiday park. I was also studying for my A-levels at college. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after college. I saw a poster for Cornwall Council apprenticeships and decided to apply.

I started my apprenticeship at Cornwall Council in October 2017 aged 19. In the planning enforcement team but am now working in the planning appeals team. Day to day I filter complaints to triage who decide if we have a case or not. If we have a case I set everything up for the case. The work I do in the appeals team is collating documents to send to the planning inspectorate in Bristol.

As an apprentice at Cornwall Council I have been working with the college to complete my NVQ. This has been a mix of face to face sessions in college and uploading evidence to my portfolio. I have been undertaking the Council's apprentice development programme. I have also completed training on planning systems and young planner training.

Working for Cornwall is great. I like the flexibility. Working using flexi time allows you to attend appointments with ease.

I don’t feel like an apprentice, I feel like any other member of the team. You never feel alone. Being an apprentice is great as there is lots of in-house training available for us.

I have felt supported throughout my apprenticeship. I don’t get micromanaged, if I need help there is always someone to ask.

In the future I will hopefully get permanent employment with the planning appeals team at Cornwall Council.

 

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

 

Apprentice Heads