Somerset County Council is celebrating the positive impacts of its apprenticeship programme as part of National Apprenticeship Week (February 7 to 13).
The Council is a strong advocate for apprenticeships and ensures Somerset Care Leavers and those with SEND backgrounds have access to apprenticeship opportunities within our teams.
Over the past 12 months, we have supported 10 young people into apprenticeships, across teams including Leaving Care, ICT, and Business Support.
On National Apprenticeship Week, the Council is recognising the contribution these apprentices make, and is reminding young people of the various entry routes available including apprenticeships, traineeships, and work experience.
Kelsey is one of our Leaving Care apprentices who has completed her Level 3 Apprenticeship with Somerset County Council and has now moved on to her Level 4 Apprenticeship with us.
“Starting an apprenticeship in Lockdown was a challenge, but the journey has been worth it,” Kelsey explains.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a wide range of opportunities and meet some truly inspiring people. No two days have been the same!”
Kelsey was involved in planning events for Care Leavers Week 2021, which included taking a group of Care Leavers to Bristol to take in a street art exhibition at the M Shed.
She has gone on to represent Somerset Care Leavers at a national level after being invited to be involved in the Social Care Review, and even spoke in front of a large audience at a manager’s event in Leeds after becoming a Young Persons Benchmarking Forum Champion for 2022.
“I have really enjoyed my Apprenticeship and the experience, confidence and drive for the future that has come with it,” Kelsey said.
“Being in an environment which understands Care Leavers has helped me to feel supported on my best and worst days; and allowed me to grow as both a person and a professional.
“Looking forward, I’m excited to continue to use my views and experiences to support positive changes within the service.
“I have been successful in securing my Level 4 Apprenticeship. This year is looking bright, busy, and filled with new challenges already!”
These apprenticeships would not be possible without the incredible support of apprentice managers such as Val Marshall, who work tirelessly to ensure the apprentices are given high quality experiences and encouraged to fulfil their potential.
“Supervising and supporting the apprentices with their qualification and day-to-day responsibilities has been a privilege,” Val says.
“Young people often feel more comfortable to speaking to someone who has had similar life journey’s as themselves.
“The apprentices work in an understanding environment which has enabled them to grow, develop and choose their next steps in employment, education and training.”
Cllr Mandy Chilcott, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Resources, added: “Apprenticeships are a valuable way for young people to develop skills and gain valuable work experience at the same time, and we are delighted to see our young apprentices going from strength to strength.
“We want our apprenticeship programme to be available to young people from a variety of backgrounds, and it is great to see apprentices such as Kelsey thriving in their roles.”
For more information about apprenticeships and other opportunities with Somerset County Council, visit: Apprentices and Graduates (somerset.gov.uk).
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