Time to Shine – Apprentices Rise to the Challenge

Congratulations to all the apprentices and mentors who took part in the first heat of the East of England LGA Apprenticeship Challenge 2020

Time to Shine – Apprentices Rise to the Challenge

Congratulations to all the apprentices and mentors who took part in the first heat of the East of England LGA Apprenticeship Challenge 2020 – ‘Time to Shine’ event on Thursday 09 January – a collaboration between the East of England LGA and Breckland Training Services with valuable support from Norfolk County Council. This was a great development day for all participants, and we were thrilled with how the apprentices and mentors rose to the various challenges set in front of them.

Richard Wills, Managing Director, Breckland Training Services, who facilitated the day with colleague Dave Senior, Training and Operations Manager, shares his reflections of the day:

“Following on from the success of the day, we’re thrilled to report that the future of our sector is in very safe hands. 21 apprentices from across the north and east of our region came together to take part in heat 1 of EELGA’s annual Apprenticeship Challenge; there are three heats in total with the winner of each heat going forward to take part in a grand final. To put the apprentices through their paces we first separate them into groups so that they can join forces with other apprentices from other local authorities. They are then thrust into a fictional world where they are recruited onto a general apprenticeship at a fictional local authority and are given different tasks and challenges that are designed to test their political awareness skills, communications skills, customer service skills and other important attributes and competencies that are required in our sector. The challenge is fast paced and full on, but also very supportive and developmental in nature with experienced local government mentors being assigned to each team to guide, support and nurture the delegates through each challenge. During the Norwich heat we were in awe of how the apprentices (all of whom are a current or recently qualified Level 2 or 3 Apprentice working in Local Government) committed themselves to the challenge. Every delegate showed great maturity and demonstrated a superb understanding of the challenges within the sector. They bonded quickly in their teams and worked really hard together to achieve collective success despite being well aware that the event would crown an individual winner rather than a team award. A particular strength of the delegates on the day was their ability to communicate assertively and professionally, handling all issues that we passed them with confidence and clarity.

It is safe to say that the sector in our region is in very safe hands if this cohort of apprentices decide to remain within local government. This may be a brave statement to make, but I would not be surprised if a good proportion of our delegates on the day make it all the way to the very top, we’ll certainly be watching their careers with interest.”

Congratulations to all who took part. Five of the apprentices were highly commended, and then crowned runner up and winner for heat 1:

Winner – Katy Whiting, South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils
Runner up – Holly Attlesey, Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk

Highly commended:

  • William Suttle, Ipswich Borough Council
  • Ben Foster, Norfolk County Council
  • Sophie Hill, Norfolk County Council

The day was a great success and Cllr Bob Deering [LGEP Portfolio Holder for Training, Development and Apprenticeships and Deputy Executive Member, Resources and Performance at Hertfordshire County] presented Katy Whiting from South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils with the Winner’s Certificate.

Pic: L-R Cllr Bob Deering, presenting Katy Whiting as Heat 1 Winner

Cllr Deering reflected: “It has been a privilege to be involved in the event and meet some of local governments shining stars of the future.  Observing the candidates throughout the day, I have been extremely impressed with the way all of the apprentices have come together in their teams, working with colleagues they have never worked with before, to build such strong working relationships, and embrace each scenario they have been given.

Before they left, we asked the apprentices to feedback with one word on how they found the day – what a positive response:

Pic: Apprentice reflections

And it wasn’t just the apprentices who valued the day. Gary Staples, Strategic Lead – Transformation, Thurrock Council volunteered his time to be a mentor for the day:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the day being a mentor at the event and it was great meeting so many talented youngsters embarking on a career in the Public Sector. I lost count of the number of them that said how much they enjoyed their respective current jobs and their enthusiasm was so encouraging to see. It was also great to be able to give them some real-world examples of how decisions made in the scenarios they took part in could have been different and what impact it would have had.”

Still unsure whether to nominate an apprentice to join our next heat? Katy Whiting, South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils, winner of heat 1, shares her experience of the day:

“I had a fantastic time and learnt so much. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to recognise and use skills I didn’t even know I had! I have taken away so much from this experience. I would urge any other apprentices that get this opportunity, to take it!”

We have a final heat scheduled for 04 March 2020 in Chelmsford, where the overall winner from each of the two heats will go head to head in a task finale, to be crowned East of England Apprentice of the Year and receive a very special prize and presentation.

If you would like any further information, or would like to nominate your apprentices to take part, please contact emma.grant@eelga.gov.uk or julie.cooke@eelga.gov.uk