Apprenticeships at SCDC
What is an apprenticeship?
An Apprenticeship combines studying alongside practical experience in the workplace.
From August 2022, this means that an Apprentice will get 6 hours of their working week to complete their Apprenticeship. This includes attending training courses and completing assignments.
What have we achieved so far at SCDC?
We have run Apprenticeship programmes since the introduction of the levy in 2017. Initially focused on new-hire Apprentices, particularly Level 2/3 Business Administration programmes, this expanded in 2020.
Current employees have either started or completed Apprenticeships in the following areas:
- Business Administration; Customer Service; Media (Junior Content Producer); Procurement; Fraud Investigator; HR; Associate Project Management; Management (Levels 3, 5, 6 & 7).
- Since 2021, we have been nominated for "Employer of the Year", making it through as a finalist in the East Of England Regional Awards; we have also been nominated as "Employer of the Year" in Paragon Apprenticeship Awards 2022 by Paragon Skills.
- We have also received nominations in the Cambridgeshire Apprenticeship Awards: one of our Planning Managers, Charlene Harper, was nominated for Team Working of the Year. Donya Taylor was highly commended for Apprentice Ambassador/Champion.
- Josh Coogan, our HR Apprentice, recently finished in the winning team at the LGA Apprentice of the Year Awards.
How many Apprentices have we supported?
We have 6 apprentices (new hires) currently completing their Apprenticeships, and 12 that have completed their Apprenticeships since 2017. These Apprenticeships have included: Business Administration, Customer Service, HR, Procurement, and Junior Content Producer.
We supported our apprentices earlier this year by enrolling them on a City and Guilds Level 1 Employability Course; they were given additional time to complete this course. The purpose of this course was to give them more skills to help them successfully navigate looking for a new role once they had completed their Apprenticeship.
Many of our Apprentices go on to find permanent positions within the Council.
We currently have 15 existing employees completing Apprenticeships; 16 employees have completed Apprenticeships since 2020.
Joshua Coogan: HR Apprentice
After evaluating my options, I quickly realised that a sole studying experience did not suit my learning style. After a year’s employment as a Trading Assistant at Sainsburys’ during lockdown and participating in one of their wellbeing initiatives as a Wellbeing Champion, I decided I wanted to look into a career in Human Resources. I ended up choosing an apprenticeship as I was able to experience and work a role in more aspects than just getting a job, but I also got to spend time exploring the academic side to the profession.
The apprenticeship route has a wide range of benefits, some that people do not admit in the interview, like a salary, but also the huge bonus of being able to explore a role both in practice and in theory with the support of a variety of qualified professionals both tutoring on your course and working alongside you.
The progression that an apprenticeship offers is great. It provides plenty of networking opportunities and ultimately rewards you with a qualification that will help you progress to the next stage in your career. I believe experience in a role is a growing demand, that universities sometimes do not offer, that can really give you a head start when it comes to applying for roles.
Considering the knowledge I have learnt so far, I hope to continue on this path of learning whilst working and achieve higher CIPD qualifications. In five years’ time I would like to be studying for my CIPD Level 7 and have experienced a variety of different organisation types and the way their HR department operates.
Nicole Stimson: Senior Websites Officer
Nicole joined the Communications Team at the Council in 2016, starting a Level 2 Business Administration Apprenticeship. Since then, she has completed a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship and a Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor Apprenticeship. She progressed in her career during this time, first being appointed to a Website Content Officer role, and most recently, securing a Senior Websites Officer role.
The training and experience that I have gained has led me to where I am now. I am still at South Cambridgeshire District Council, working with the same team, but in December 2021 I was recruited into the role of Manager for the Website team. I am extremely proud of the journey I have taken and the progress I have made in my career. I wouldn’t be where I am today without apprenticeships and the support given by both the education providers and my employer.
The positive experience that I have had has made me passionate about promoting how powerful apprenticeships can be. When I was at school, apprenticeships were never mentioned, it was always about going to school, doing A levels and going to university, which is great for people who want to do that.
For those that don’t wish to take the university route, apprenticeships are a great alternative. I don’t believe that I would have reached management level at my age if I had gone to university. I am a lot further ahead in my career than I would have been if I had taken an alternative route. I am still young, and there is plenty of time for me to consider a Higher Education, either through a university degree or a higher-level apprenticeship.