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Essex County Council wins at Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021

Category: apprenticeships, Apprentices, Apprenticeship Scheme, Apprenticeship Programme, Apprentice of the Year 2021

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At Essex County Council (ECC) we’re passionate about creating opportunities for our residents; we want to continue to employ a diverse workforce where different experiences and ideas are welcomed – a place where colleagues feel inspired to do more!

ECC took part in the Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021 event, which was designed and delivered in partnership between the East of England LGA and South West Councils. The day saw 110 apprentices face six online activities; in teams of people they had never ‘met’ before. The activities were based around a variety of disciplines, such as networking and enterprise. The day was designed to be fast-paced, action-packed and challenging to observe performance under pressure both individually and within teams.

It was a fantastic opportunity for apprentices to come together from across England, working in teams for the accolade of being amongst the winning apprentices. Which is exactly what happened to Thomas Zaidi our Project Officer Apprentice who was part of the winning team and Louis Dodge our Technology Apprentice, who was awarded Apprentice of the Year Runner-Up.

We caught up with them both to discuss the event and their successes:

Tell us a little about the event:

Thomas – The event was a whole day, everyone was split into teams and where given a scenario to work through, all of my team members were from across England.

Louis – The event was massively valuable. It’s national, and really the focus was on supporting development and networking between councils. So, it was pretty exciting to have the opportunity to engage with the kind of strategic thinking and decision making which takes place at a more senior level inside the council.

 

What attracted you to apply for an apprenticeship at ECC?

Thomas – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when leaving college, I thought about applying for University but ultimately decided upon an Apprenticeship, I ended up getting lucky with ECC’s Trading Standards team.

Louis – Honestly, I’ve always enjoyed learning, but school never really clicked for me. I find it far easier to learn by doing, so the chance to develop skills while on the job really appealed. The fact that the apprenticeship was designed so we could move around different teams within Tech Services was also a big selling point. I think that kind of exposure is really valuable; both in terms of developing networks within the organisation and also to help identify the direction you might like to take your career. Having that hands-on experience really helped me get to grips with what the day to day work might look like if I were to join a particular team. It can be so hard to get a feel for that from the outside, so it was massively useful.

 

Before starting with ECC, what was your background?

Thomas – I had just finished in College and I was really deciding upon what I wanted to do.

Lewis – I went to school in Chelmsford. Honestly, I always figured I’d head off to Uni, but I found myself struggling more and more as I progressed through the school. Things clicked in to place when I was diagnosed with ADHD and borderline dyslexia. I still wanted to learn, but it was becoming clear that the ‘traditional’ route wouldn’t work for me. Having left school, I worked part-time at an escape room for a period (while developing a design for a room of my own). I enjoyed the work, but I was craving a challenge, so I started looking around for routes into professional employment. And that led me here!

What are you hoping to achieve from your apprenticeship?

Thomas – I’m really hoping to gain as much knowledge and experience from my role and do the best I can in my career.

Lewis – I’m hoping to use my time in the apprenticeship to build networks within ECC, develop a strong base of skills and qualifications and ideally position myself to progress into a full-time position within Technology Services. Alongside the apprenticeship, I’ve begun working toward Microsoft Azure qualifications to support that goal.


What advice would you give to someone considering ECC as a future employer?

Thomas – If you are looking for an apprenticeship that will give you support throughout your training, ECC and ACL are the ones to go with!

Lewis – The leadership team at ECC really see the value of apprenticeships. They’re keen to support professional development and bring new talent onboard. On top of that, ECC is a large and established employer; they have resources that smaller companies simply don’t. If you’re driven, there are always opportunities here.

At ECC, we have a dedicated Entry to Work Team who understands the importance of creating pathways of employment into ECC, and apprenticeships are one of these routes. Apprenticeships allow individuals to learn a new skill and develop practical experience at the same time!

So, if you are thinking of your first move, your next move, or want to try something new, look no further.  Click here to search and apply to all our latest vacancies.

Thomas and Louis Thomas Zaidi - Project Officer Apprentice                                    Louis Dodge - Technology Apprentice

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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