Celebrating the country’s brightest apprenticeship talent from within our sector

An opportunity for apprentices to stand out and be recognised


Overwhelming response to the apprenticeship event gave an opportunity for apprentices to stand out and be recognised nationally amongst their peers.


Congratulations to Karla Overington, Business Administration Level 3 Apprentice, West Sussex Council, on being crowned the ‘Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021’.


On Thursday 22 April 2021, more than 100 local government apprentices came together to compete for the title of Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021. During this national event, apprentices faced 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.


The day concluded by awarding prizes to 3 runners up, a winning team and the overall winner ‘Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021’. The winners were:


Winning Team:

  • Ellie Hendry, Planning Apprentice, Basildon Borough Council
  • Gemma Knowles, Apprentice Customer Services Advisor, Test Valley Borough Council
  • Oliver Hill, Administration Support Officer, North Hertfordshire District Council
  • Thomas Zaidi, Project Officer Apprentice, Essex County Council
  • Zoe Spillett, Trainee Workforce Development Officer, Portsmouth City Council


Runners Up:

  • Louis Dodge, Technology Apprentice, Essex County Council
  • Oliver Hill, Administration Support Officer, North Hertfordshire District Council
  • Sophie Thompson, HR Advisor, New Forest Council


Winner ‘Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021’:

  • Karla Overington, Business Administration Apprentice, West Sussex Council


Winner, Karla Overington, reflected on her achievement, saying: “I feel absolutely thrilled, delighted and honoured, to have been given the opportunity to represent Highways, Transport and Planning at such a well organised event. It was a fast-paced, full-on, interactive day, but it was great to meet new people and be provided with the opportunity to learn and develop.”


Karla’s Line Manager, Chris Barrett, Business Manager, West Sussex County Council, added: “Karla is absolutely thrilled to have won the Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021.


“It is great to see Karla’s enthusiasm and motivation as an apprentice acknowledged and rewarded. When Karla looks back on this event, I think she will come to recognise it as a catalyst in her personal development, and in developing her chosen career.


“I know that Karla gained a tremendous amount from this year’s event. She learned a lot about herself, enjoyed meeting a lot of like-minded people, moved out of her comfort zone and broadened her horizons. It is delightful to see the way this event has inspired Karla and I have no doubt it will have a lasting effect on the way she embraces the opportunities her apprenticeship comes to offer.”


Runner Up, Sophie Thompson, HR Advisor, New Forest Council, who completed her Level 3 Team Leader Apprenticeship in November 2020, added: “The event was a great way to build on the skills I had learnt in my Team Leading Apprenticeship. The challenges throughout the day were relevant to our work in Local Government and how we support our communities; gaining understanding from apprentices across the country about their ways of working and service delivery was invaluable. The challenges allowed me to put the skills learnt from my apprenticeship into practice whilst networking with new people.”


Apprentices were encouraged to continue their learning after the event, scheduling feedback with their line managers to discuss their reflections from the day and to share their individual scores for each activity, using a supporting, post-event checklist.


And for those supporting the event, it offered a unique opportunity to support our future ambassadors of Apprenticeships in Local Government. Development Leads volunteered their time to facilitate team activities, observe and assess the apprentices throughout the day and were looking out for shining stars, and those who were really stretching their own capabilities.


Development Lead, Lisa Butterfill HR and Development Manager, East Midlands Councils reflected: “The event was a great opportunity to help support the apprentices as they immersed themselves in the challenges set.  To see them grow in confidence and skill was very rewarding and it certainly raised the profile of how vital apprentices are within local government. It is a great opportunity to learn in a practical way and I would encourage anyone interested in the development of others to take part in future events. Looking forward to next year!”


The Local Government Apprentice of the Year event was open to all level 2 and level 3 apprentices in local government (currently studying or had completed their apprenticeship within the last 12 months) and was jointly organised in partnership between the East of England Local Government Association (EELGA) and South West Councils.


Prizes for the event were kindly sponsored by the Local Government Association (LGA). The guest speaker at the event was Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, Gillian Keegan, MP, who led an inspiring Q&A session.


Event Co-Chairs, Bryony Houlden, Chief Executive, South West Councils, and Michelle Kirk, Director, East of England LGA, reflected their delight to see so many Councils represented at the event and said: “We were delighted to collaborate as regional partners on this fantastic event. Apprentices make a vital contribution to local government, undertaking a vast array of roles. On the day we saw the enthusiasm and commitment that apprentices bring to their work. It was hard to predict who would win with so much talent on display, as they stepped up to all the challenges thrown at them.”


The support shown for this event underpins the importance of apprenticeships in local government but also the huge array of opportunities that exist within local government, as we welcomed apprentices from a wide range of roles and service areas in our sector.


If you have any questions about this event, please contact [email protected]