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Apprentices are "a credit to the council"

Cllr Brian Long with six of the borough council's apprentices

Published: Monday, 12th March 2018

Cllr Brian Long, leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, met eight of our apprentices to congratulate them on their success and mark National Apprenticeship Week.

The borough council has been involved with the apprenticeship scheme since 2013, offering opportunities to people who want to earn while they learn, and benefitting as an employer from staff who are motivated to learn.

Cllr Long said: “Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to start their careers, and they’re also an ideal way for people with established careers to gain new skills and qualifications. Having a mixture of both kinds of apprenticeships included in our scheme benefits us immensely as an employer.”

“Talking to our apprentices, I was impressed by the depth of knowledge they already have, their commitment to learning new skills, and the enthusiasm they have. They are all an absolute credit to the council.”

The apprentices work in a wide variety of the council’s departments, gaining qualifications that relate directly to the work they do every day, reflecting the theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week: “Apprenticeships Work”.

Eliza Zientalak, CIC Advisor, said: “I had some reservations at first and a fear of failing the apprenticeship, however, during the first few months I have learnt I can do it, and if I struggle there is a network of people to help me to achieve it. Attending the college is very rejuvenating and an enjoyable experience. The maths sessions I was so afraid of proved to be very rewarding; I never thought I would enjoy it as much. The course also helps me to improve the skills that I directly use in my job, and I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Richard Haylock, Grounds Operative, said that he had real pride about completing the apprenticeship and had the feeling of “we can do this”. He explained that he enjoys learning and that he finds time to learn when he is at home as well as at work.

Darren Shaw, CCTV Operator, is studying a Level 2 apprenticeship in Customer Services and explained that the course made him appreciate what he already knew, but more importantly identified gaps in his knowledge and skills which he can work on improving. He said: “The benefit of studying alongside work is that it doesn’t feel like you are doing extra while you are learning”. Darren also really appreciates the new technology as the last time he studied it was paper, pens and reference books.

Julie MacPherson, Scanning Assistant, is taking a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Business Administration and said: “I am loving being at college again, I didn’t think I would ever like maths but I am loving it and doing quite well. It is good being able to study while I work; I also juggle it with being a single parent quite easily as well – in fact my son and I have been helping each other.”

Jobe Arnold is in his second year of a Financial Services apprenticeship and is really enjoying his time as an apprentice and is doing well in his studies, gaining a distinction in his Level 2 AAT Foundation Certificate in Accounting. He is now working on attaining his Level 3 AAT qualification. Working for a council means Jobe can learn and make a contribution to a large team - he said “there is always a lot to learn and I enjoy learning”. When asked why he had applied for an apprenticeship he said: “It is a good way to get into somewhere and start a career.”

Lorraine Gore, Executive Director Finance Services, explained that she viewed an apprenticeship as of joint benefit for both the employer and the young person. “Jobe has learnt valuable work skills and will gain solid qualifications. It benefits an employer for someone to apply their learning while carrying out their role. Jobe is a valuable member of the team and is benefiting from working with a whole range of people”.

National Apprenticeship Week ran from 5 – 9 March 2018.

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