This week (9th-13th March) is National Apprenticeship Week – a celebration of the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
The annual campaign aims to raise the profile of apprenticeships and show how they can lead to a dream career.
I’m enjoying my job more than I could possibly have imaged and I love working at the councilDaniel Leader
It is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and supported by a wide range of organisations including colleges, training providers, councils and employers.
Here, we discover how college-bound Daniel Leader decided to swap the classroom for an apprenticeship at a council.
Mansfield teenager Daniel Leader was all set for a college course in public services after leaving school with a string of A* grades.
The 16-year-old saw it as the logical next step towards a ‘dream career’ as a police officer in the RAF.
But his decision to attend a pre-employment scheme for school-leavers over the summer has led to public service of a different kind – an apprenticeship at a local authority.
It came after Daniel applied for a place on the Summer Job Shop run by Vision Apprentices – the apprentice recruitment service of West Notts College – in partnership with Mansfield and Ashfield district councils.
Held over two weeks in July, it provided workshops in CV-writing, self-motivation and job interview techniques, along with work placements at both authorities – with the chance of an apprenticeship upon completion.
Said Daniel: “I was bored of having nothing to do during the six weeks holiday. I’d secured a place at college, starting in September, but I saw the Summer Job Shop advert on Facebook and thought it sounded really interesting.”
Daniel successfully applied and made such a great impression on his placement at Mansfield District Council he was invited to apply for an apprenticeship in its democratic services and community engagement team.
After impressing in the interview, Daniel began a business administration apprenticeship in the team that provides administrative support to mayor Tony Egginton and elected members, as well as staging community and civic events.
He is employed directly by Vision Apprentices and hosted by the authority.
Such was his colleagues’ faith in him that no sooner had he started, Daniel was asked to take the lead role in organising some high-profile events.
These included the successful Youth Mayor elections and the annual ‘Takeover Day’, which saw 80 primary school children take over the running of several council services – earning him a staff recognition award from its managing director, Ruth Marlow.
“I didn’t expect to be given such responsibility so soon, but it’s proven to be worth its weight in gold,” he said. “I’m enjoying my job more than I could possibly have imaged and I love working at the council.”
Daniel continues to play a key role in assisting the council’s decision-making process, including preparing reports and agendas for committees, booking meeting rooms and note-taking. Much of his time is currently spent supporting the elections team, which is busy preparing for the forthcoming General, Mayoral and district council elections in May.
He combines this with working towards an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration and is supported by an assessor from West Notts College.
Daniel hopes to continue his apprenticeship with the council next year and progress to a Level 3 in Business Administration.
And while his long-term aspiration to join the RAF still remains, he says his apprenticeship will boost his chances of achieving it.
Francine O’Sullivan, placement officer at Vision Apprentices, said: “Daniel has made fantastic progress over the last six months, and has established himself as a key member of the team at Mansfield District Council.
“I’m amazed by some of the projects and activities he’s been involved in. It just shows how committed Daniel is to his future, and his inevitable success in anything he puts his mind to.”
COUN Andrew Tristram, portfolio holder for corporate issues, said: “We are delighted to welcome young people to Mansfield District Council. The apprenticeship scheme is an ideal opportunity for Daniel and others to develop their skills and gain valuable experience in public sector roles.”