26 Oct 2020
Apprentice Ambassador Network
MARNIE EDEN: A VOICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
I have been working for Devon County Council for almost three years, joining on an apprenticeship.
My current job title is Participation Worker for South and West Devon. My role includes running Children in Care and Care leaver groups monthly, creating countywide events to mark important occasions such as Takeover Day and facilitating Youth Parliament campaigning locally. Most importantly, I make sure that our Devon young people have the opportunity to talk about what is important to them.
When I first joined DCC, I came in on a Higher Level Personal Assistant apprenticeship where I undertook Level 4 Business Administration. This was a perfect fit for me as I had no clue where I wanted to be next year, let alone in five years time. The apprenticeship was flexible and put me in several placements within the organisation, including; Highways, Finance, Adult Social Care and Children Social Care. Moving around grew my understanding of what I was professionally interested in doing and built my report with Senior Managers and Heads of Service’s as I supported them closely. From here, my passion for working in Children’s Services grew and working for the Head of Children’s Social Care and their senior management team meant I could learn alongside them and discover volunteering opportunities that would be relevant.
The apprenticeship team had a calendar of sessions to get involved in; these included workshops on interviews, finances and public speaking. We also had the opportunity to volunteer in our local areas and give back to the community, me and my cohort went to Stover Country Park and planted 600 trees for the day. Alongside this, I could also join the YAAN which is the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network. The YAAN is a collection of apprentices who go into schools, career fairs and organisations to speak about their apprenticeship experience and what the pros/cons were for them. We meet four times a year and also have a training session to prepare you for entering schools and talking openly about your learning experience.
Doing all of the above in the two years I was an apprentice meant that I communicated with all levels of the organisation from visitors to the chief executive, the apprenticeship team also created opportunities like the volunteering to help us get in touch with our local area and championing the YAAN meant we meet with business owners and apprentices from all over the South West. I am a strong advocate for apprenticeships and will always suggest them to those around me who are unsure of what to do after school or if they want to change their career pathway. My advice to those who are looking into them is to see if there are vacancies in a particular organisation you are interested in, you will then be able to build a report with your colleagues whilst learning and discover opportunities within that business.
BEN TUCKER - WORKING FROM HOME
After the government advised against all non-essential travel in March 2020, I knew it was time for me to start working from home full time. My department had been testing our business continuity plans prior to going into lockdown, so I was as prepared as I could have been. I had already been bringing all my equipment home with me each day just in case this happened.
Working in IT means that I can complete the bulk of my day to day tasks remotely. Therefore, working from home hasn’t been much of an issue for me and being in a key industry means I still have plenty to do.
When working on your own you can easily become isolated and not have much interaction with your colleagues. To overcome this, me and my team have been having video calls daily so that we can check in on each other and ensure that we all have plenty of work to do.
Last year I was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, which puts me at a higher risk than the general population if I were to catch the coronavirus. Due to this it is especially important for me to follow government advice as strictly as possible. Thankfully I have the full support of my employer and they always ensure that my health comes first.
Although at first it was slightly depressing knowing that I wouldn’t be moving much for the next 12 weeks. I quickly began to take a more positive approach as it is easy to forget that many people are at this time are not as fortunate as me.
Luckily, I have a reasonably sized garden which I am able to use for exercise every day. I personally find that exercising each day is the best way for me to keep myself in a healthy state, both physically and mentally.
It is especially important in these times to keep up regular contact with friends and family. Thankfully we are in a world where we are spoilt for choice on different technologies to use to communicate. I have been making the effort to speak to my friends and family regularly, whether they are in the same town or a different part of the world.