Derby City Council shines a spotlight on apprentices

Published: 18 February 2022

staff at apprenticeships event

The work of Derby's apprentices and employers was celebrated as part of the 15th National Apprenticeships week (7-13 February).

The work of Derby's apprentices and employers was celebrated as part of the 15th National Apprenticeships week (7-13 February).

Apprenticeships are a great way to develop yourself and learn new knowledge and skills while working on the job. However, apprenticeships also allow for you to take the first steps towards a new career, all while being paid and gaining vital workplace experience.
Here’s what some of the Council’s apprentices say about their experience:

Accounts Receivable Business Admin Apprentice Ella Duhaney 18 says:

You get an understanding of what it’s like in the working world, with the training a job provides, while earning a wage at the same time.

School Organisation and Provision Business Admin Apprentice Michael Smra 21 says:

It is very useful to know that we have support outside of the team that we work with, if we need it.

Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers. We offer various levels of apprenticeships up to the equivalent of a degree. Within the Council, we have lots of different apprenticeship opportunities available to take advantage of, regardless of your age or background. The full list of apprenticeships we offer can be viewed on our apprenticeships page. We work with the best local training providers to ensure the best possible learning for our apprentices all while allowing you to gain on the job skills within your team.

Sarah Webster was recently crowned the College of Business, Law and Social Science Apprentice of the Year. She joined Derby City Council’s Park Team in 2004 and was inspired to take an apprenticeship in Strategic Leadership after conversations with colleagues.

Sarah says:

I had always been particularly interested in undertaking a MSc Degree. The apprenticeship has provided me with a brilliant opportunity to expand my skills, interests and knowledge and apply it to my everyday work.

A requirement of the apprenticeship scheme was to have the support of a Senior Leader mentor within the organisation, who helped to challenge the academic learning, bring it in to a real-world context and this provide guidance and support throughout the apprenticeship.

There is no typical day within the Parks Team; it is very varied and can alter from one minute to the next. I deal with anything from an issue on a park, to leading volunteer tasks, working alongside and support one of the 26 Friends groups and stakeholders within the city, to dealing with strategic decisions linked to parks development and management plans for Local Nature Reserves and anything in between. You can’t make it up in this business and keeps you on your toes.

I hope to continue to work within the field of conservation, environment, and community engagement, continuing to tackle and bring about change to help address and respond to the many challenges that face the city and wider in relation to climate crisis and loss of biodiversity. By bringing the knowledge and experiences that I have gained through the apprenticeship to my area of work.

The apprenticeship programme has been a great opportunity for me to meet others, both internal to the City Council, as well as external organisations such as Derby University, NHS, and private sector to discuss, challenge and pass on experience around the different theories, challenge the way things are done and gain an insight into new areas of the business. I have found it challenging at times fitting it all in especially during the pandemic, but it has been a really worthwhile, enjoyable and interesting experience that I would totally recommend to others.

Cllr Evonne Williams, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Skills at Derby City Council said:

The apprentices are a vital part of Derby City Council and the services we provide for the city. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for anyone, whether you’re looking to start your career or re-train into something different and can very often lead into permanent positions afterwards.

As part of the National Apprenticeships Week campaign, our apprenticeships team hosted a question-and-answer session on our social media channels to see what future apprentices wanted to know about the process. These frequently asked questions from this session can be viewed online.

Although National Apprenticeships Week was a great opportunity to showcase our apprentices and the current vacancies we have, we offer support and training all year round. We are currently working with various local employers as part of the Derby Jobs Live events to showcase the opportunities in the city, most recently with rail giant Alstom which is recruiting for 30 graduates and apprentices

Our support doesn’t end there, as we also always aim to support employers recruiting new staff as apprentices. Derby City Council joined forces with the University of Derby, the Department of Work and Pensions, and the Derby College Group to host the Get On Board With Apprenticeships event for employers. Around 10 local employers attended the two-hour information-based event to learn about the benefits of hiring apprentices and how they could apply for additional funding from the Council’s Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund to offset the costs of training and assessment

Eligible businesses must have a head office within the Derby City Council area boundary and are able to meet the requirements of the Education and Skills Funding Agency for transfer. Further information about the requirements can be found online.

Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about the current vacancies available at Derby City Council, you can subscribe to the Derby Jobs Weekly newsletter or contact the apprenticeships team directly at 01332 643702 or email

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