My journey at ECC, by Annabel - Working for Essex

My journey at ECC, by Annabel

Hi my name is Annabel Ostridge, I am 20 years old and I have worked at ECC since January 2020 where I started as a Business Administration Apprentice within the Children, Families and All Age Mental Health Commissioning Team and recently started my role as a Commissioning Assistant. I am a chatty, smiley positive person who always tries to find solutions to problems. 

What do you do here at ECC? I support commissioners with various commissioning tasks, coordinating activities that delivers specific projects, stakeholder engagement, financial transactions etc, and I am also a superuser for TCS and Oracle for the team. I am a key contact alongside my commissioning manager on a programme called Fifxtra which was commissioned in response to COVID. I have responsibility for data collection, mini reports, and communicating with our providers. I provided project support, attendance coordination and for the online Trauma Perceptive Practice conference which was attended by over 300 schools in Essex. 

What is it you want to tell us about? I started with ECC as an apprentice, without this, I wouldn’t have had the skills and confidence to apply for the commissioning assistant role. My apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge of commissioning whilst learning and taking on more responsibility with different tasks. It helped me to gain confidence to speak at meetings, learn about new IT systems, meet new people and lead on different activities. Being in the commissioning team has helped me to really appreciate how big Essex is and all the great work that happens. My apprenticeship was online at home throughout lockdown which was difficult at times as I really missed being in the office and seeing the team. I used the time to really work hard for my apprenticeship portfolio and revise for my exams, which I gained a distinction in. 

What’s the most rewarding part of what you are doing? The most rewarding part of what I do is when I help facilitate focus groups and can listen to children and families on their thoughts and what we can do to make things better. I also love receiving data and case studies from providers where I can see how the work we commission is helping children, young people and families in Essex. I know that I have a helping hand with the rest of the commissioning team with ensuring people in Essex receive the best support and services and look forward to continuing to see great outcomes for them.

Finally, so we know a little more about you, when you’re not at work what are you most likely to be doing? When I’m not at work, I am most likely to be in my floristry shed creating bouquets and various wedding, funeral or event designs. I used to work in different florists, and even spent some time working at Wild at Heart in Liberty London. Alongside this I have recently bought a renovation project home which will be taking up the majority of my spare time over the coming months!

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