Trading Standards in Essex - More than just legislation - Working for Essex

Trading Standards in Essex – More than just legislation

It’s World Consumer Rights Day on 15th March, which has given us the opportunity to sit down with the Apprentices working within the Essex County Council Trading Standards Team.

We spoke with Rachael, Regulatory Compliance Apprentice, who gave us an incredible insight into the world of trading standards and compliance here at ECC. Rachael joined us as an apprentice after completing a law degree at university.

How would you describe the work you do?

“If I had to give a word, it would be varied. One morning I’ll be at a livestock market, but then in in the afternoon I can be at Stansted Airport or a food factory…

Sometimes when I think about my peers who went to uni, they’re doing consultancy or office based jobs, and I’m shin deep in mud – I think how is this real? But it’s so great!”

Could you give us an insight into the sort of things you get up to?

“I was part of a team that took a tobacco detection dog out recently – that was fascinating. There was a fake wall within this shop made of decking material, but the wall slid off and was absolutely full of illicit tobacco…

The dog went straight to it and sat down, so clever.”

Why did you choose to apply for an apprenticeship in Trading Standards?

“Personally, I want to make a difference, it’s about helping the community. There’s time for people, there’s time for the job…

My mum used to work for the Council and I knew it was a good employer. There’s great flexibility and perks and the pension, things like that.”

What’s the most rewarding part of your role?

“When you know you’ve done everything you can, a consumer has got a just result or you’ve sent them in the right direction. You get yourself that closure and then that person closure as well.”

The results of an illicit tobacco raid

What challenges do you face in your role?

“I need to learn and know so much about law (including regulations and by-laws), and you can’t cut any corners with the law, can you? You can’t go and look at 8 out of 10 things, because if those two things that you’ve missed are wrong, you haven’t done your job. You need to be very focused on details”

What are the benefits of working for ECC?

“I have a huge amount of apprenticeship evidence, which is good for this job, actually, compared to other apprentices in our position. We have so much supporting evidence – numerous visits that evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed, whereas other people outside of ECC who are desk based, they haven’t got much at all. They’re often desperate to do an audit with a manager to get their hours up, but we’re laughing!”

Lastly, what are you likely to be doing outside of work?

“I like relaxing. This weekend I’m going to a spa with a lovely pool, sauna, hot tub and massive grounds to walk through.”

You can find out more about Trading Standards through the links below:

More about our ‘buy with confidence’ scheme: