Reflections from #NAW2018 in the East of England – “Apprenticeships Work”

6th April 2018

To mark National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2018 (5 – 9 March 2018) the East of England LGA ran a news stories campaign to highlight and share examples of activities and events happening in Councils across the Region, alongside apprentice case studies, to celebrate apprenticeship in local government. The theme of #NAW2018 was “Apprenticeships Work”, to showcase how training works for individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.

Many Councils across the Region took part in celebrating NAW in a wide variety of ways, which included careers fairs, visits to local schools to promote apprenticeships, working with trade unions to support apprentices, awards ceremonies and sharing apprentices’ stories via social media channels to illustrate the value apprenticeships. You can revisit our previous news stories by clicking here.

To conclude our NAW series, we reflect on three councils approaches to celebrating “Apprenticeships Work” in local government as part of the national campaign:

Braintree District Council welcomes its first degree apprentices
During NAW, Braintree District Council launched a degree apprenticeship programme for the first time, which is aimed at building leadership and management within the organisation.

The BA (Hons) Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeships, delivered at Anglia Ruskin University, will be offered to aspiring staff who want to build their leadership skills within the workforce, while apprentices can gain a university qualification alongside real work experience, with no tuition fees.

Councillor John McKee, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “I am delighted to introduce our first cohort of degree apprenticeships which will allow us to support our existing staff as well as nurture new talent coming into the organisation. These apprenticeships offer a real alternative to a traditional degree course and are a great way to earn while you learn.”

Andy Wright, Chief Executive of Braintree District Council, said: “This programme is a fantastic opportunity for our staff to develop their careers whilst still carrying out their busy day-to-day roles. We are also delighted to be working alongside Anglia Ruskin University to deliver the apprenticeships so we can use the very best academic resources available to develop and grow future leaders. We are keen to invest in developing the skills, qualifications and long-term careers of our workforce and support those individuals who can help us deliver the best possible service to our residents.”

Norfolk County Council spread the word about apprenticeships
To date, Norfolk County Council (NCC) has 56 apprenticeships in place across the services and is formed by 54 members of existing staff and 2 new individuals recruited to NCC as apprentices. Norfolk are also supporting NCC schools who have utilised apprenticeship training for 19 teaching assistant positions to date.

To celebrate NAW, Norfolk shared communications about how one of its service departments had already started making apprenticeships work.  By utilising apprenticeship opportunities within IMT, the service has identified an important route for training, developing and retaining key technical skills for now and in the future.

Apprenticeships will specifically support the function through:

  • Bringing ‘digital natives’ into the workforce, who will hopefully bring a different perspective on the use of digital technology to help the service develop and modernise.
  • Increasing the gender diversity within the service, over the longer term.
  • Train staff in both technical work and in effective client relationships to help future collaborative working.
  • Supporting the councils aim to provide real jobs and training to Norfolk residents

Robert, an NCC IMT Apprentice explained: “I have really enjoyed my time here at NCC, everyone is welcoming. I have found the Apprenticeship really beneficial giving me hands on experience and training and is a great start to my career.”

Colchester Borough Council hosts showcasing event and scoops award for its apprenticeship scheme during NAW
Apprentices working in services across Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes joined together on Wednesday 7 March 2018 for a special event to showcase and celebrate their work and achievements.

Organised as part of #NAW2018, the event at the Town Hall saw the 10 young people currently taking part in the council's apprenticeship programme share their experiences with a range of invited guests. These included Cllr Mark Cory, Portfolio Holder for Resources, alongside managers and their mentors.

Among the apprentices on the scheme was Rachel Binnie, who is in the Professional Support Unit team.  Rachel said: "I have enjoyed being an apprentice here at CBC because it has given me many great opportunities which has given me many more skills and I have gained work experience which I can carry with me in the future. The apprenticeship programme has allowed me to experience things that I never thought I would do.”

The 10 apprentices were also joined by the two Colchester Borough Homes’ (CBH) current apprentices who are working in electrical and in painting and decorating to provide an insight into their workplace learning.

Gareth Mitchell, Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Homes, said, "It's a privilege to watch a young person grow and develop their skills during the course of an apprenticeship. I am delighted we can provide hard-working youngsters with a fantastic opportunity to start their careers in a supportive environment."

Meanwhile, the success of Colchester Borough Council’s apprenticeship scheme in supporting hard working young people learn while they earn, was recognised as the council was named ‘Large Employer of the Year’ at the Easton and Otley College Apprenticeship Awards 2018, held at Bressingham Hall, Norfolk on 7 March 2018.

Head of Employer Engagement at Easton and Otley College, Louise Wicks, said, "We would like to congratulate Colchester Borough Council for winning the award at our annual apprenticeship celebration.

"Our long established and successful relationship with the council goes back over many years and we are proud to work with them.  As an employer, they are very keen to help their apprentices’ progress within their organisation and we have seen many students move on within their business to take on senior roles.”

Councillor Mark Cory, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “I am delighted our commitment to give young people the chance to work at the council and learn the skills needed to forge a successful career, while getting paid, has been recognised.

 “It is testament not just to the drive and determination of the apprentices to learn and develop but also of the staff across our services to support them throughout their journey.”


If these stories have whet your appetite, please do take the time to read through the other #NAW2018 stories which help to highlight the value of apprenticeships in local government, and will hopefully inspire you to get up and grow.

Join our Get up and Grow campaign to raise awareness of the importance of apprenticeships to our organisations and economies and to help increase the number and uptake of apprenticeships across the region!

We are committed to helping to support the delivery of apprenticeship training; making sure that the apprenticeship levy money is spent in the most effective way. Working together is the best way to achieve this!

To share your apprenticeship stories get in touch with Emma Moore, Senior HR Advisor at the East of England LGA on / 01284 758326

Find out more about the Get up and Grow campaign at

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