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Case studies

Discover what our apprentices think about their apprenticeships!

Emily

Business Administration

After successfully completing my Level 2 Business Administration Qualification I am now working towards my Level 3 and I am thoroughly enjoying it. During my Level 2 Qualification, I was ‘Highly Commended’ in the National Apprenticeship Awards for the West Midlands region which was a great success. There were over 1100 applicants for this competition and coming second showed that all my hard work has paid off.

At the end of 2018 I was nominated for Young Employee of the Year and once the votes had been counted; it was announced at an awards ceremony that I won and was named the 2018 Young Employee for Solihull Council.

I am continuing to work hard and enjoy coming to work every single day. Without the support from my colleagues within the Council, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve these two amazing awards.

 

Matt

Civil Engineering

I am now into my third year of employment with Solihull Council as a member of the Highway Projects team.

During my time at Solihull Council I have been involved with and carried out a multitude of projects and tasks that I would never of thought would be possible for a person with so little experience. I credit Solihull Council and the teams and people I have worked with and alongside with giving me the confidence and time to develop myself as an engineer and as a person all whilst being an effective member of the projects team and removing any worries I first had about being an apprentice just starting out.

Between working within the projects team and studying on a day release basis at Solihull College I successfully passed my Level 3 qualification with a D*D* grade. This involved reporting on a wide variety of challenging and interesting topics during my day release and then evidencing and discussing my work based jobs and tasks with a professional reviewer to achieve the required competencies expected of an engineer at my level.

Following the completion of my Level 3 course I have been permanently employed by Solihull Council as a degree level apprentice in the role of Assistant Engineer within the Highways team. I will be studying on a day release basis at the University of Wolverhampton to achieve a degree in Civil Engineering & Transportation all whilst working on and being involved with major projects within Solihull, both as a result of investment in the authority and also major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Midland Metro which will be bringing in a wide variety of opportunities to the borough.

Apprenticeships, particularly at degree level are an ever-growing theme across a wide variety of industries and are providing more and more young people with an opportunity to become degree level educated whilst earning a living in full time employment without the worry of debt.

Degree level apprenticeships within my area are a new venture for Solihull Council and I am proud to be involved in the successes and future successes of apprentices being employed by the Council.

Georgia

Procurement

This was my first ever job; I began straight out of my A-level study. It has been very challenging, but also certainly rewarding.

I was cautious and doubtful of how well I would integrate into the team, and coming directly from arts studies, and a creative background even doubted whether or not I would be any good at my job. I was considering a university path for English, but thought an apprenticeship would be more fitting.

Admittedly, I didn’t know much in relation to procurement, but the concept of it interested me and I felt it might be something I could do, and do well. The idea of working with Solihull Council also interested me, as I felt I would be making a difference in a place which has always been around me while growing up.

I have been incredibly welcomed and encouraged in my role as a Procurement Apprentice. I have been thrown 'in the deep end' into a multitude of tasks. However, this isn’t to say I have been left to fend for myself; I have been given guidance and help the whole time.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team. Although we are all diverse in our ages, beliefs etc., I feel as though I have developed a good relationship with everyone, and could go to any of them with an issue and get their full attention and effort in return.

I have just sat my 1st CIPS Procurement exam, and have found it much easier than I expected to juggle work, study and a social life. My confidence in myself in this role is slowly growing thanks to the teams’ constant support and guidance, and I feel incredibly lucky that this is the first job I got.

Kelsie

Customer Service

I started my apprenticeship with Solihull Council as a customer service apprentice working frontline at Solihull Connect. I can definitely say that I have gained so much confidence and have a wide range of knowledge within the services that the Council provides. Becoming an apprentice was such a great decision and I have really enjoyed my time earning and learning!

I was really nervous about starting the role as I lacked in confidence quite a lot and it felt like such a big thing to be involved as a frontline service with Solihull Council. But I can honestly say that being an apprentice has really improved my confidence and made me feel better within myself. The team that I have worked with are so lovely, they welcomed me and always helped me with anything that I struggled with and always gave me the advice that I needed to progress within my role.

I have always wanted to work with customers face-to-face and in this role I am able to do that, but I am also able to help customers with serious issues that they may have and I can ensure to make their world a better place and to make a difference in their lives.

The journey that I have been on with Solihull Council has allowed me to develop my current skills and has helped me gain more confidence. It has also given me an excellent amount of knowledge that I never had before becoming an apprentice. Without the support I have had from Connect and Solihull Council, I wouldn’t be the person I am now and I am so grateful for the team that I have worked with for helping me to be a great success.

I can now see a future career within Solihull Council and I look forward to developing the skills that I have gained with Connect even more in my future employment.

Jack

Civil Engineering

I began my apprenticeship with Solihull Council in October 2018 and am undertaking a BTEC Level 3 in Civil Engineering. I am from the area so it is interesting for me to see what the Council does in the area I live and how it affects peoples’ everyday life.

My time so far has absolutely flown by, and I’ve loved it. Everyone at the Council is extremely friendly and easy to get on with, and will always look to help one another out, which is key to being part of a team. From the moment I started I have been made to feel extremely welcome. 

I have been working with people with lots of experience in their profession and also people in similar positions to me, both having their positives. Learning from professionals helps develop skills and knowledge from industry specialists, whilst working with other apprentices means you can support each other through qualification studies and new work experiences.

I have been involved in lots of projects so far and also different teams including projects, traffic management and drainage. This has allowed me to gain a vast amount of knowledge from different areas. It has been interesting to see how different teams operate and how they all fit together and into the bigger picture.

An apprenticeship appealed to me because it was a chance to gain a qualification, valuable experience and skills all whilst earning money at the same time. An apprenticeship at the Council will really help to build your confidence and also teach you valuable life skills. Being 21, if I could go back again I would get an apprenticeship as soon as I finished school/college, and I would advise others to do the same!

Alex

Civil Engineering

I joined Solihull Council in October 2018 as an apprentice within Highways, and it was the beginning of many firsts and great experiences for me. It was my first job, involving my first pay check, my first induction, the first time I was being relied on, the first meetings and so, so much more. It has been the greatest feeling in the world.

Not to  mention how friendly and patient everyone is, and the range of attitudes and experience are really something to behold, as the whole team shares there knowledge with you and day by day you can feel yourself fit in more and become more useful.

Honestly this apprenticeship has left me with no regrets and I would recommend it to anyone, and with the range of services that the Council offers, means that anyone can find a place somewhere, where they will not only enjoy the work, but will enjoy the people and environment as well.

Nicola

Level 3 Business Administration

I am currently completing a Level 3 Business Admin apprenticeship at Solihull Council. I started my apprenticeship in May 2018, and I work for the Streetcare department.

Since I have started, I have covered several different roles and jobs within my department and have learnt an unbelievable amount of knowledge. I have also attended various training courses that have helped my development further and have been welcomed into a friendly and supportive environment.

I can see myself working within Solihull Council for the future, and would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone as you are paid to gain knowledge in something that you enjoy. I have gained new skills, and also made friends.

Will

Customer Service

I successfully completed my Customer Service apprenticeship and a Level 2 NVQ in Customer Service and am now a permanent employee of Solihull Council.

After one year of being an apprentice, I can confidently say that I have been blown away by the amount of learning and development, support, and sense of fulfilment that I’ve gained through this job.

I am in my full-time position and the focus on ‘growth’ in particular has been to such a degree that I have made achievements I may never have considered before, be that work-related and personal. I am now working towards a Level 3 NVQ which, upon completion, will give me even more room to expand my role and better prospects for career advancement.

I cannot give Solihull Council enough credit for allowing me to develop and learn new skills but also for giving me the opportunity to expand the role and create further opportunities. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, working under such an inclusive and open-minded organisation, and with that has come some amazing prospects for my future. I look forward to progressing and continuing to work with Solihull Council.

 

Blake

ICT

I applied for the ICT apprenticeship as I felt like ICT was a key skill to have in life. As the future comes closer, ICT is expanding, so to be able to say I am qualified in this subject will help me out a lot in the future. I never thought I was going to get this apprenticeship and to my amazement, I was given my opportunity and I have never looked back.

Working for the Council is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The people here are friendly and treat you like family. Whether you are struggling or lost etc., there is always someone you can turn to, to seek some advice and guidance. It is amazing the amount of skills I have learnt so far on this course, skills that I never thought will help me but actually do. Even learning basic skills have helped me a lot.

Before I started working here, I was very shy around people I didn’t know, and I hated speaking to people on the phone as I found it very awkward. But now, it is a part of my life, everyday I am speaking to people on the phone and in person and I am getting more and more confident every time I speak to someone. It is an incredible career choice and I would highly recommend it to others.

Joe

Electrical Installation

I am doing an electrical installation apprenticeship with Solihull Council and have become part of the street lighting team. I decided on this apprenticeship because I undertook a one week work experience here in 2018 and it seemed like it would be a good place to learn the industry.

I have developed skills and learnt valuable information and I have been given multiple opportunities to complete different training courses and learn new things. My role takes me to different parts of the borough everyday and gives me a better insight as to how the Council operates.

Overall I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone looking to train in a new industry or to progress in a current one, getting paid to learn and getting an insight in the working world is the perfect way to train.

Nathan

Electrical Installation

At the age of 26 I had already gone through the rigmorale of education and employment however, did not know the apprenticeship path that I am now currently on. I am happy to say that I enjoy what I do - despite weather conditions and cold feet – as I feel that I can apply myself and see the benefit first hand whilst not only becoming a qualified electrician but supporting my team.

I did not know in my teens that an apprenticeship was readily available at the time and knew little about what they meant. I felt that it was never to late and accepted that if I wanted to change my working environment an apprenticeship would be the best decision to make. As a member of the Street Lighting department I realised the benefits that come with the role and the commitment that the team have in helping me feel welcome as well as giving me a greater understanding of my role with Solihull Council.

Will T

ICT in a school

I am currently an apprentice ICT Technician and have loved every minute of it so far. Like so many others, I felt pushed to go to university and study for a degree so that is what I did, however, after my first year I knew that it was a mistake and Higher Education isn’t the right path for everyone. I promptly left and soon found my current role.

I feel it is the perfect environment for me, not only do I get to develop my knowledge of ICT but I enjoy myself here, there is never a day when I am not looking forward to going into work because I know that I will be doing something that I enjoy.

I was quite nervous about working in an office environment for the first time and really wasn’t sure what to expect, but everyone is very friendly and they’ve all helped me to settle in. People know that if they come straight to me then the chances are that I can fix whatever issues they may be having before it requires escalation to the Council’s helpdesk; it is nice to know that the people I work with are confident of me in my job.

In my view, an apprenticeship is the way forward; it gets you into a job early which gives you a much needed foot into the door of whatever career you wish to pursue.

Victoria

Customer Service

I work at Solihull Library doing my customer service apprenticeship and my experience so far has been very positive. I am enjoying learning and then applying what I have learned and seeing the results. I really enjoy the variety and the parts of my job that involve aspects like problem solving and dealing with customers.

An apprenticeship is a great way of getting paid, trained and getting relevant work experience in the area you want to work in for an extended amount of time. It’s been great because I learn best through being hands-on and the apprenticeship has allowed me to gain experience. We also have off the job training days which have allowed me to learn about other services the Council provides and the opportunity to meet other apprentices.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the apprenticeship has in store and it is definitely the best thing I have ever done!

Mairead

Customer Service

At the age of 26, and accustomed to the working world, the opportunity to become an apprentice allowed me to transform my passion for books into a career, facilitating a career change because I am able to earn and learn.

Being a practical, hands-on learner the apprenticeship setup offered by Solihull Council suits my learning style and keeps me engaged daily with new tasks and on the job learning. Moreover, the unique opportunity offered by the apprenticeship, to interact and contribute to the wider community, servicing and helping the public, while learning feels worthwhile - like I’m making a difference to peoples’ lives, and in a variety of ways improving their day. This daily interaction with customers, coupled by warm, welcoming and knowledgeable staff is a sure way to boost my confidence in my new customer facing role.

Importantly, I will be gaining a level 2 library service qualification. This qualification is tailored and relative to my role, allowing me to build up my knowledge base with practical skills, classroom and independent study and adding a new and impressive element to my workday arsenal and my CV. Furthermore, unique to the apprenticeship, I am given the opportunity not only to learn my new role at The Core Library but am able to experience the breadth and scope of library services offered by Solihull Council through study time in other services. The Home Library Service for example, or another branch library, to fully understand the amenities offered and the place and impact that these services have on the local community.

I cannot state enough how well supported I have felt by both my new colleagues, always offering support, advice and teaching, and by the structure and formality of the apprenticeship programme and I look forward to becoming a fully-fledged Library Customer Assistant with Solihull Council.

Kirstie

Marketing

I am working towards a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Marketing, whilst working as a Marketing and Box Office Assistant at The Core Theatre. I was 21 years old when I started the apprenticeship, and already held a degree in English Language, but had absolutely no experience or prior teaching in marketing, which was the field that I decided I wanted to get into.

I genuinely could not have asked for a better opportunity than doing an apprenticeship with The Core Theatre and Solihull Council. It has given me the chance to learn and practice a lot of new skills, both in marketing and customer service. I had no previous experience serving members of the public, and my time here has made me very confident in doing so.

The most important thing for me personally is the support and encouragement that I receive from my bosses. They are very encouraging, and allow me to be creative in terms of my marketing work. I am very grateful for the amount of freedom they give me, and the amount of trust that they put in me to do my job, as working with social media and also on the front desk with customers is all very public. However, that is not to say that I am ever left alone in what I do. I always feel highly supported, and know that I can ask for as much guidance as I need, whenever I require it.

The entire team that I work with at The Core are lovely, and have been since the very first day I started. They are always friendly, and happy to offer me advice and guidance. I would not have been able to come this far along with my apprenticeship, if not for the constant support they have given me. Being a part of Solihull Council is more than just my own team, and I have always been made to feel welcome by other members of the Council, whether this be on Apprenticeship Training Days, visits to other departments, or even simply by emails sent between myself and other employees.

I would absolutely love to continue working for Solihull Council after I finish my apprenticeship here, as I truly love working at The Core Theatre, and could not imagine a nicer place to work.

 

Nicholas

ICT

I started my apprenticeship with Solihull Council in July 2018, working on the ICT Service Desk. I am part of a team which provides first line ICT support to employees of Solihull Council. Our job is to provide general technical via the phone and online portal. We either solve the issue ourselves or for more technical issues, escalate it to a more specialist team.                                                                                               

Since starting my apprenticeship I have not only gained technical ICT knowledge, but I have also learnt how to operate professionally in a corporate office environment. As my knowledge has increased I have grown in confidence and now feel I am a valued member of the Service Desk.

As part of my apprenticeship I am given the opportunity to study one day a week at college. Whilst at the college I am able to study to improve my technical ICT skills.

I have enjoyed my time as an apprentice at Solihull Council and would definitely recommend it. I believe an apprenticeship offers a good balance between on the job work and study, which is well suited for anyone who wishes to earn money whilst learning a skill.