Changing Perceptions of Early Careers in Public Sector - Hear from our Apprentices - Working for Essex

Changing Perceptions of Early Careers in Public Sector – Hear from our Apprentices

Written by Brogan Joy, Recruitment Consultant Apprentice

As a young person looking for work, a career in public sector may not be the first thing you think of. We get it – for some it may not be the first place you think of a future employer however, with only 17% of students receiving any form of work experience it is important that we start to change the perception of careers in the public sector.

The award-winning Entry to Work team at ECC has a focus on early careers paths – I spoke to three of our current graduates and apprentices to get their view on what it’s really like working here:

Brogan Joy – Recruitment Consultant Apprentice

“I joined Essex County Council’s Entry to Work team as a Recruitment Consultant Apprentice in October 2022 after working in various stores within the retail sector. Since joining ECC I have been given the opportunity to organise and support with a Mental Health Awareness session for T Level students, researched and developed resources regarding neuro-diverse and mental health support groups, and assisted in a wide scale Graduate Programme recruitment campaign. I am currently team lead on a week-long calendar of events for National Apprenticeship Week.

A typical day for me at ECC will involve meetings with colleagues from across various departments of the council, scheduling interviews, performing research, collating data, and developing my learning through ECC’s various opportunities for further learning.

One way in which my perception of working in the public sector is the flexible working which fits perfectly around my role as a mother. I’m able to complete my working day anytime between 7am-7pm and can work from home or the office.”

Gemma Longman – Graduate Procurement Trainee

“I joined Essex County Council as a Procurement Graduate in August, with my first placement in the Waste, Environment and Energy team. Before starting, I was nervous to join as someone who only finished my bachelor’s degree a couple months before, and whose work experience was primarily research based or University societies and activities. My line manager has listened to what I felt my strengths were, and from the start I was trusted with senior level projects based on these skills. For example, I believe one of my best strengths is my attention to detail in technical tasks, and as a result I have been tasked with a large rebate project where I worked to collate evidence of damages in a previous ECC contract.

My perception of joining the council has changed as there has been more of a social life than I believed there would be. There is a group of us who go for lunch together when we are in the office, and who sometimes go to the pub after work. Within the Procurement Department there is also a Book Club, a video game group and a Dad’s café group, and across ECC there are wider Networks such as the Young Person’s Network and the Women’s Network, amongst many others, so there is always something going on, from drinks to fun activities to talks.”

Peter Herring – Graduate Finance Trainee

“After graduating from the University of Essex, studying Actuarial Science, I was keen to put my knowledge to practical use and learn from the extensive support of financial professionals and the many development opportunities available at ECC. I have been in the Graduate programme since June, and I am really enjoying my time here in such a welcoming and supportive workplace.

I have just completed my first 2 modules of my CIPFA studies and am currently in my second team rotation. I was worried about my lack of financial experience, having covered limited financial topics in my degree. But my fears were quickly quenched as everyone in the office are so friendly and helpful, and there is a lot of on-job training provided so you always have support when learning new things! My work has ranged from completing monthly reconciliations for fund manager accounts to creating Income journals from the PN11 forms of Towns and Parishes supported by the Essex Pension Fund.

We generally have a morning catch up meeting on Mondays to see what needs doing and who will do it, and usually end up trading weekend stories which is always nice. I carry out the tasks set from the meeting throughout the week. I really enjoy the work set to me as it’s giving me a chance to get to grips with what goes on in the office and it is challenging enough to keep me engaged and want to learn more!”

With over eight early career pathways within ECC to choose from, why not take a look at the Entry to Work page on the Working for Essex site to see what’s available. You can also join our talent pool to keep up to date with our vacancies.