Meet the Apprentices - Meet Marzena Kurek, Norfolk County Council

Each day during #NAW2020 we will be introducing you to inspirational apprentices and rising stars, working in Local Government in the East of England

Each day during #NAW2020 we will be introducing you to inspirational apprentices and rising stars, working in Local Government in the East of England, who blaze their own trail.

My name is Marzena Kurek and I am an Apprentice Finance Assistant in Norfolk County Council.
I started to work here in January 2019 (over one year ago). I have completed my AAT level 2 last year and I have just started AAT level 3.

When I was looking for a job, I didn’t know much about an apprenticeship. I imagined it was reserved for people younger than me.

After a break in employment and moving to England, it was a daring dream to find a job, which would allow me to get back to career in finances and to develop further as well as would contribute in helping others.

However, when I found the advert about Apprentice position in NCC, my first thought was that it was crafted especially for me. It was finance position in a team supporting Adult Social Services – public services focused on helping people in need. I would not only be allowed, but even required to learn. Additionally, to my surprise, it was ‘normally-paid’ job.

After one year, I can say with all confidence that applying for this role was a very good decision.
From the very beginning of my employment, I have been given a lot of attention. I was surprised, when I realised how much my managers care for my development making sure I am given tasks relevant to what I study. This motivated me even more. I worked hard and passed my exams with really good results.

Apart from materials from the course, I had additional tasks given by my assessor, which structured and supported my learning about public sector in general, legislation that applies to my work, code of conduct, and much more.

It is worth to mention that all this policies, most noticeably equal opportunities rights, are really respected in the Council and I feel very lucky to work in the atmosphere of common respect.

I try to support everyone in my team, and I know my efforts are appreciated. I often offer my help and readiness to learn something new. As an apprentice I do not only have one tutor on my course, but also all the experienced people from work, who are happy to share their knowledge and skills. In my opinion, an apprenticeship is much better choice than a traditional education route for various reasons.

The most importantly, it enables to get experience and see how the theory taught on the course is used in practice. This not only makes the learning process more effective, but also allows to have better idea of the possible future careers. Many people after graduating decide to work in some completely different area than their studies subject. Apprenticeships prevent this happening, as experiencing real work helps to make an important decision earlier.

I would recommend an apprenticeship to everyone, who wants to learn effectively and gain experience in the same time. In fact, I have already started to encourage my children to consider this form of education.

Apprenticeships give the opportunity to look beyond traditional routes into employment and allow you to explore a diverse range of career options in local government and beyond. Our #NAW2020 feature provides just a small taster of the true value that an apprenticeship can bring, to both individuals, local authorities and the wider community in the East of England.