Care Leaver among those celebrating 10th National Apprenticeship Week

A care leaver who is currently undertaking an apprenticeship with Somerset County Council has spoken about how the opportunity has changed his future career ambitions.

Tommy Wardle, a 25-year-old Apprentice Business Support Officer, is one of 37 apprentices currently working for Somerset County Council. He works with the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Commissioning Team three days a week, while completing a Level 2 Diploma in Business Administration at Richard Huish College.

Speaking about his apprenticeship, Tommy said: “I’ve been in my role and employed by the County Council for the last 6 months. I enjoy my apprenticeship and I’ve learnt so many skills which I can take with me as I continue my career. My overall ambition is to do a degree in Social Work, so that I can become a children’s social worker.

“The reason I want to get into children’s services is because I was in care at the age of three. I feel that now I can give back and be a role model for children like me. That being said, my apprenticeship has opened my eyes and made me realise how hard a job social workers actually do and now I truly appreciate what they did for me.”

“It hasn’t been an easy 6 months; during the course of completing my diploma I found out that I suffer with dyslexia and find it hard to write down what I’m thinking. With the support of colleagues, managers and the support of the college I’m now back on top of all my work and powering through it.”

The council is aiming to employ around 150 apprentices and trainees per year with opportunities across a number of services at the Council including IT, Procurement, Property, Support Services for Education and Community Governance.

Cllr Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member for HR and Transformation at Somerset County Council, said: “Apprentices are the future workforce of Somerset and are so valuable to the services they work with. The creation of opportunities for young people is one of the key priorities for boosting the local economy, as outlined in the Council’s County Plan. We work closely with our college partners to create apprenticeships within the council but to also encourage businesses across the county to do the same.”

To mark the 10th National Apprenticeship Week (6 to 10 March), staff from HR and some of the trainees will be attending careers fairs at Bridgwater and Taunton College on Thursday 9 March and Richard Huish College on Saturday 11 March.

Apprenticeship opportunities with Somerset County Council can be found by visiting