“Earn while you learn, and get set to climb the career ladder”; that’s the message from former apprentices at Hampshire County Council.
During National Apprenticeship Week (6 to 10 March 2017), the county’s apprentices are keen to encourage others to follow their path to success.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar said: “We have a big programme of apprenticeships that’s still growing, and we’re proud of the variety of opportunities that we can offer here, at the County Council.
“When I talk to apprentices, it’s obvious how much confidence and enjoyment they are experiencing during their training, not to mention the skills they are learning and the contribution they are making to the Authority. I look forward to welcoming more new apprentices to the County Council, and I’m glad to see that so many go on to take up permanent roles in the organisation.”
In a bid to show other young people how good an apprenticeship can be, during National Apprenticeship Week, current County Council apprentices will be blogging about their experiences, and sharing pictures and videos on the County Council’s social media channels. There are more than 100 apprentices currently working at Hampshire County Council. Apprenticeship opportunities regularly arise in areas such as Health and Social Care, Business Administration and Construction, and also occasionally in other sectors. Apprentices learn on the job, doing a wide range of tasks, and there is structured support from line managers and tutors.
Three former apprentices share their stories:
Mia Holdaway: “There is a huge range of skills required to be a building surveyor.”
Mia Holdaway, from Portchester, started studying for A-levels at Havant College but decided that becoming an apprentice building surveyor with Hampshire County Council’s Property Services would be a good opportunity and better career path.
“In my view, there is a huge range of skills required to be a proficient building surveyor. You have to do things like site surveys; health and safety compliance; checking regulatory documents such as building regulations; spatial planning of layouts; awareness regarding accessibility; and CAD drawing.
“I’ve also learnt the soft skills required to be a good building surveyor, such as customer relations, as Hampshire County Council runs a number of in-house training courses for staff. An example of the type of work I have done includes a £2 million refurbishment project at an Isle of Wight middle school. I measured and drew up part of the elevations drawings and, as a team, we surveyed the whole site. Once back in the office, I worked on the CAD drawings and issued them to the client and other specialists.”
Mia, 19, has now completed her two year apprenticeship and gained a Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment, and an NVQ in Building Surveying. She’s now studying part-time for Building Surveying degree course at London South Bank University, supported by the County Council.
Lucy Guyatt: “I have A-levels, but wanted other options besides university.”
Lucy Guyatt, from Andover, completed her A-levels, but then wanted to work. She also wanted to continue learning, because she was unsure what career to aim for.
Lucy chose the business administration apprenticeship, to keep her options open, but was unsure what kind of work this might involve.
“I think there is a stigma attached to the word ‘apprentice’. I wasn’t expecting anything more than photocopying and scanning. But my role actually required me to provide a wide range of administrative support to the senior management team. I also received training on the Authority’s document management system to deliver support to my department – so scanning and photocopying is a very minute part!
“I have learnt so much, not just about administration, but also about the County Council itself. My work is very varied. Lots of interesting opportunities and new responsibilities have come my way.”
Lucy believes apprenticeships are a great route to a career and, for many people, a better choice than university. “Schools and colleges can be very university-focused. This can be discouraging and may make it seem like apprenticeships are only for people who ‘don’t have the grades’ to go to university.
“But apprenticeships are a great way for anybody to challenge themselves academically, but also get their foot in the door and begin a career they may not have considered originally.”
Lucy, now 19, has moved on to the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship and plans to progress within the organisation and maybe one day train to be a counsellor.
Liam Church: “I’m going to see where it takes me.”
Liam Church, 21, from Basingstoke, was looking for a way to start work, but still keep his career options open – so he applied for an apprenticeship at Hampshire County Council.
“I didn’t have a set idea of what I want to do as a career, so I wanted an entry-level job where I could learn and develop a wide variety of skills. I found that in this role. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
Liam says he’s noticed a change in general attitudes towards apprenticeships and other career options, in recent years.
“Years ago, university was more actively promoted, and an apprenticeship was seen as something for those who might not have been as academically capable for university. In recent years though, I’d say that general opinion (including mine) has changed, in a positive way. It is now a perfectively legitimate and successful way to get a job and gain real hands-on experience whilst also studying towards a qualification – the best of both worlds.
“I think higher numbers of people are applying for apprenticeships, especially given the expensive university fees, and difficulties that can be experienced in getting a job after university.”
Since completing his apprenticeship, Liam has taken a role at the County Council as a Senior Administration Assistant, and looks forward to seeing where his road will lead. “I plan to continue to work hard in my current role, progress up through the grades and see where it takes me!”
Find out more
People who are interested in an apprenticeship with Hampshire County Council can:
Search for current apprenticeship opportunities with the County Councilat www.hants.gov.uk/newjob Find out more about apprenticeships at: www.hants.gov.uk/yourfuture/youthsupport-careers/youth-apprenticeships-guide or call 01962 846193.