600 people have started an apprenticeship with Bradford Council
It’s National Apprenticeship Week (3 to 9 February 2020) and we are officially celebrating starting 600 apprentices (Council and schools staff) since the launch of the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme in 2017.
We are very proud to be able to celebrate supporting over 600 people to gain a qualification through our apprenticeship scheme since April 2017.
The Government’s apprenticeship levy was introduced in April 2017 to increase the number of apprenticeships in large organisations. This includes recruiting new apprentices and up-skilling existing staff, to develop people’s potential for their future employment.
Apprenticeships are a growing option for people to earn while they learn – an attractive prospect for many – and, as Bradford Council recognises, a vital entry route to gaining skills and behaviours required in the professional sector.
Most organisations with 250 or more staff in England, including Bradford Council, have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentice starts over the period of 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021.
Elaine Mallinson is our Senior Learning and Development Academy Officer. She said: “Since the levy came into force, it has given the Council an opportunity to develop the skills and capabilities of existing staff through apprenticeship training and this is essential to retain and build future talent and succession plan.
“More apprenticeship standards are now available and this is a golden opportunity to help grow our own talent and develop a workforce from our local communities. Additionally, the fact that apprenticeships are now available at level 2 (equivalent to GCSEs) to level 7 (masters level qualifications) shows the broad range of opportunities available to our services and the Council as a whole.
“Converting vacancies into apprentices is also assisting the Council to increase its targets to employ younger people (as we are an ageing workforce) as well as our Corporate Parenting Agenda by offering apprenticeship opportunities to our Looked After Children.”
Next we hear from some of the 600 people who have been part of our apprenticeship scheme since April 2017.
Apprentices can be any age, not just school leavers
Alex Clarke, Apprentice Occupational Safety Technician in the Health and Safety team, said: “I’m working my way through a Level 3 Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Technician apprenticeship after being made redundant from my previous career of over twenty years standing.
“This apprenticeship is very hands-on and allows me to be directly involved in the design, implementation and review of vital safety practices throughout the Council’s working remit, which is great as I am able to utilise my previous experience at the same time as developing new skills. My colleagues are incredibly supportive and enabling and the vibe in our team is one of a collective journey.”
Apprenticeships help develop confidence and skills
Jack Pollard, Service Operations Apprentice in IT Services, said: “I started my apprenticeship in January 2019 with no industry knowledge and little confidence. On my first day I was greeted with only the warmest of welcomes and already felt part of the team. I was first assigned to do some project work and quickly learnt the ropes. I shadowed some very talented individuals and picked up extremely valuable skills and techniques off my colleagues. Throughout the year I have seen these skills develop further and I am now very confident within my role.
“I have done a wide range of activities during my time here and have learnt to both work independently and as part of an amazing team. I know that the work I do on a day-to-day basis has a positive impact on the organisation and I can see my contributions making a difference. I have been provided with outstanding support from the whole service and would highly recommend the apprenticeship scheme as I feel it has given me valuable experience in the industry. I feel I now have both the skills and knowledge to progress further and achieve my goals.”
Apprenticeships give people experience, qualifications and friendship
Asma Butt – Office of the Chief Executive, Support/Research Assistant, nominated for Apprentice learner of the year 2018, said “Completing my apprenticeship has been really beneficial for me as it has not only helped me secure a permanent position as a support/research assistant to the chief executive but also was a great way to build my confidence working in this office. My favourite part of the apprenticeship was completing the workshops as I got the opportunity to relate with others completing similar apprenticeships and build friendships every week. I would highly recommend anyone to do an apprenticeship, as even if you aren’t able to go on to get a permanent job you are still able to walk away with a qualification and the experience you have gained.
“With regards to the misconceptions about apprenticeships being ‘just employed to make the tea’ there are certain aspects of the job where you are required to undertake less interesting tasks, however it’s all a part of the job and isn’t always the case but all forms part of your experience!
“Also very grateful to be working for the chief executive as I got the opportunity to meet the royals!! Which was definitely my highlight to date, but in general, I am able to be a part of working with some great people on a daily basis and also very lucky to have the best manager who has helped me so much and still is! (shout out to Seema!).”
Apprentices win awards to boost their sense of achievement
Matthew Hayes is an apprentice plumber and was named Apprentice of the Year winner at our Built Environment Construction Awards in September 2019. This award recognises qualities and achievements including improvement, effort, work ethic, quality of work, attitude and portfolio.
Matthew said: “I feel blessed. Having an apprenticeship with the Council (and particularly within The Built Environment’s Projects Team) has given me plenty of opportunities to train and learn skills that I may not have had a chance to learn otherwise. The quality of the training is such that I feel confident it will open up many more doors for me in the future.”