Published: Monday, 3rd February 2020
This week, 3 to 7 February, is National Apprenticeship Week and Sevenoaks District Council is embracing a new wave of apprentices.
Apprenticeships may in the past have been for younger people, aged on average between 16 and 18. These days, they are being promoted as a way of existing staff gaining further qualifications and, in some cases, as part of a strategy to upskill the existing workforce in order to ‘grow talent’ within the organisation.
Sevenoaks District Council currently has nine apprentices including Housing Managers, Heavy Vehicle Repairers, Auditors and Project Managers. One Apprentice who is proving how these schemes are great for gaining knowledge is Corporate Customer Services and Delivery manager Amy Wilton. Amy has worked at the Council for almost seventeen years but in September 2019 began a level 7 Senior Leader apprenticeship.
Amy says: “I had been wanting to do further study for my role for some time. I really wanted a qualification that would recognise the knowledge and experience I have built up throughout my career. The level 7 apprenticeship seemed to tick all those boxes. I have really enjoyed meeting lots of new people through my studies and I am looking forward to being able to apply my learning to my role here at Sevenoaks.”
Demonstrating that not all Council apprenticeships are office based are Anna Radvan and Gareth Christian, who started at the Council as Level 2 Environmental Conservation apprentices last year. Anna had finished a voluntary traineeship with the Kent Wildlife Trust and wanted to continue learning about environmental conservation. Gareth first became interested in the Environment when volunteering at Bough Beech Nature Reserve. Their role consists of helping the Sevenoaks Greensands Commons projects across the District. Most recently they have been working on heathland restoration at Crockham Hill Common and Bitchet Common.
Anna says: “My favourite thing about being an apprentice is the chance to learn. The apprenticeship includes college-based tuition and working alongside experts in their field, so it’s a really varied education. Our work is different from day –to-day and there’s always an opportunity to be learning something new.”
Gareth adds: “I've been looking for work in this area for a while, but although I had plenty of practical experience I was lacking in the management and planning side. This apprenticeship allows me to gain this experience as well as learning about managing the heathland restoration. I work with a really fun team of staff and volunteers. It’s so rewarding to see the difference we are making to the commons.”
Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, Cllr Peter Fleming, says: “Apprenticeships are a brilliant way for existing staff to learn new skills that will benefit the Council as a whole as well as an opportunity for new people to join our organisation. We are really proud to currently have nine apprentices doing such a variety of roles for the Council. It also proves apprenticeships are no longer just for school leavers but a great option for developing a career.”
To find out more about apprenticeships visit www.apprenticeships.gov.uk