Tracy Shaw is Head of Service for Finance & Commissioning in Children’s Services, serving Wandsworth & Richmond Councils.
Tracy and the Children’s Services Finance Team describe their experience of working with Lifelong Learning to provide an apprenticeship opportunity. Their apprentice, Emily Kidd, is on a level 3 Business Administration programme.
“The Children’s Services Finance payments and assessments team made a decision in 2017 to take on an apprentice, instead of going through the usual route of arranging agency staff cover when staff changes meant another staff member was required. Our apprentice started with the team in the autumn, and was provided from day one with a supportive line manager, as well as a willingness from the other team members to answer questions and share skills. Having this support network in place from day one was essential, and soon reaped benefits for the team and the service, as well as for our apprentice.
The induction was little different to the induction an agency finance officer would have required, and since most of the role is procedure or/and system based our apprentice was able to pick up really quickly. As with most people entering their early roles (if we can remember back that far), our apprentice was shy, but really eager to learn, and from day one demonstrated a real commitment to succeed within the role, make positive use of the opportunity to progress her career, and showed how young people are very adept at using and understanding IT systems, even our databases and new finance system.
Over the past four months, our apprentice has not only picked up the role to the full, but taken responsibility for completing specific work from start to finish with minimum supervision, including identifying potential errors and problems and proactively investigating and resolving these. Her confidence is growing, and the team appreciate her input to such an extent that they would prefer to keep her with them, than release her to work in the other Children’s services finance teams, as had previously been planned. Her commitment is un-deniable, and there is no doubt that our apprentice can now complete her role far better than some previous agency finance staff have.
We are now planning to provide further apprenticeship opportunities for transactional, system/routine/procedure based and admin related work over the coming year across the Children’s Services Finance and Commissioning teams instead of the use of agency staff. This works for our budget, but also gives an amazing opportunity for a young person to get their first step on the career ladder”.
If this has inspired you to consider offering an apprenticeship opportunity please contact Carol Stewart at Wandsworth Council Lifelong Learning on 020 8871 5473/07870 974893 or e-mail: CStewart1@wandsworth.gov.uk