Graduation ceremony for our first Accessible Apprentices - Working for Essex

Graduation ceremony for our first Accessible Apprentices

The Entry to Work team were recently invited to celebrate the graduation of Essex County Council’s first ever Accessible Apprentices, Connor and Connell.

The Targeted Employment Team worked with both Connor and Connell to help them secure Level 2 Customer Service apprenticeships working within Adult Social Care with ACL as their training provider.

Taking place in the foyer of the Council Chambers, the graduation ceremony was a lovely morning with people from across ECC coming together to celebrate all their hard work and achievements. Cllr Sheldon was in attendance to present Connor and Connell with their certificates and congratulate them on all their hard work.

Cllr Sheldon with Connell and Connor

Everyone who worked with the apprentices had lovely things to say about them both, including how well they worked within their team and what an asset it was to have them there. One thing that really struck me was how much confidence both individuals have gained from their apprenticeships, as evidenced by the wonderful speeches they gave to a room full of people. Connor and Connell both spoke about how grateful they were for the experience and how much the apprenticeship opportunity has enriched their career prospects with both having obtained new roles in their chosen fields.

“As a co-ordinator for ‘accessible apprenticeships within Essex County Council (Targeted Employment Team) I was immensely proud of the achievements of both Connell and Connor who are Essex County Councils first individuals to have completed their apprenticeship programme on a level 2 Customer Service Standard. Both their commitment and engagement throughout their programme was admirable and highlights why accessible apprenticeships are a viable pathway for individuals with disabilities/difficulties.”

Jonathan Smith – Targeted Employment Officer

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them both. I have so enjoyed being part of their journey and hope they will benefit from having the apprenticeship with ACL, on their CV’s, for their future goals and aspirations. Our ACL team of tutors have also enjoyed working with them, as in the class sessions they became more confident and joined in all group discussions, with passion…

…As part of their skills set for the apprenticeship, they have both became advocates, spreading the word about accessible apprenticeships, delivering presentations for ECC. With this new awareness this has then opened doors for future apprentices too. It has been a positive experience for all involved and we wish them well in everything they do.”

Kerry Conway – ACL Tutor

“I believe it is essential that we lead on ensuring our workforce is reflective of the communities we serve, we must ensure that we talk the talk and walk the walk. It is not enough to be aspirational about employment, levelling up and outcomes without taking actions to ensure this is reflected in our own teams, workforce, and organisation.

Accessible apprenticeships and working alongside Connor and Connell enabled us to recognise and value the contribution people can make who have lived experiences, bringing different skills and approaches along with introducing new and fresh perspectives supporting us to develop as a team and organisation.

I am hugely proud but also feel privileged to have been part of Connor and Connells apprenticeship journey. I have seen changes over this 2-year period which are incredible, the stand outs for me are their increased self- confidence, belief in themselves, awareness of all their capabilities and development of skills which will stand them in amazing sted on their employment journey.

Connor and Connell became really important members of our team. As a team we valued working alongside Connor and Connell and I can recall many conversations which caused myself and the wider team to reflect, consider and learn. So, for me it is clear that accessible apprenticeships provide not only an incredible opportunity for the apprentices but also for the learning and development of ourselves, our teams and the wider organisation.”

Amber Stevens – Service Manager, Adult Social Care

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