Entry to Work - Apprenticeship Stories - Working for Essex

We’re proud to be a leading organisation in entry opportunities, having been awarded on several occasions for our initiatives and work towards supporting career development.

Below you will hear stories from some of our staff, who have each found their own place within Essex County Council’s wide range of opportunities.

Click on the portraits below to find out more about our apprenticeships and their journeys with us:

Apply for an apprenticeship with Essex County Council today!

Amin Talukder

Graduate Solicitor ApprenticeLevel 7

I was drawn to the apprenticeship opportunity provided by Essex County Council because of the known reputation that ECC has for development, growth and providing a supported learning environment.

The ability to gain practical experience while also receiving comprehensive training aligns well with my future career goals in becoming a qualified solicitor. I have had long ambitions to be working in the public sector and make a positive impact within the community. This apprenticeship makes it an ideal place for me to contribute my skills and grow into a qualified solicitor.  

Click on each question below to hear what Amin has to say:

  • What does your average week look like?

    An average week allows for me to work flexibly with the days working from home and in the office. I have a protected study day which allows for me to complete my studies (SQE examinations) without having to look at work tasks. The team has always looked at ways to maximise my exposure to different meetings with outside counsel and different internal colleagues.

    This can include me working on complex instructions to Counsel to engaging in a meeting discussing a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.  I am also able to collaborate with different colleagues within my team on different days during the week which gives me a balanced workload across the team.

  • What’s been your biggest achievement during your apprenticeship?

    Whilst I have only been in this apprenticeship for the last 6 months I have already learnt many skills and achievements that I am proud of. I have been able to develop my confidence and communication skills with colleagues and external partners.

    Whilst in my current team, I have developed my ability to draft legal documents, and conduct legal research related to ongoing projects. This is a rewarding achievement for me as it is difficult to learn these skills confidently without the supervision of experienced legal professionals.

  • Where do you hope your apprenticeship will take you?

    I see this apprenticeship as a crucial step in my journey to become a qualified solicitor. I am looking forward to immersing myself in the practical aspects of legal practice, building on the theoretical knowledge I gained during my academic studies at university. Through the hands-on experience, I hope to refine my legal skills, develop a deep understanding of the intricacies of the legal profession.

    Ultimately, my goal is to progress with this apprenticeship to not only qualify as a solicitor but also to lay the foundation for a successful and fulfilling career in law in the public sector, where I can contribute meaningfully to the legal community and hope to work in the future in the Local or National Government.

  • What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship within ECC?

    I would suggest considering an apprenticeship with Essex County Council if you’re looking for a range of hands-on experience and would like a well-supported learning environment. As the graduate solicitor apprenticeship is a relatively new route to qualification for becoming a solicitor, this is what drew me to applying for an apprenticeship rather than the traditional route to qualifying.

    It provides on the job training from a range of different departments which you can receive great exposure from whilst also undertaking your further studies, aiding the practical and theoretical side. If you would like to work in the public sector and have a rewarding career, ECC is the best place for you to grow and develop.

Sasha Larkin

Business Administration Accessible Apprenticeship – Level 3

I wasn’t looking at doing an apprenticeship but when I heard about the opportunity and the NVQ I could achieve I wanted to know more about it.

To work within a Council attracted me automatically and felt there was meaning to it. To gain such a qualification while working for a well known organisation was very attractive.

Click on each question below to hear what Sasha has to say:

  • What does your average week look like?

    My workplace varies from office to working from home, although I prefer working In the office, the option is there to work from home on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, never the less. Mondays and Tuesdays I must be in the office to support the team with office tasks. I use a Wednesday as my study day for my NVQ as I like to break the week up.

    My team has regular zoom meetings to chat about the team or general tea break chat, this is nice and its optional, so you don’t have to join in unless it’s a work meeting.

    I would ensure every couple of hours I get away from the screen and make a cup of tea or just take a breather so im not in front of the screen all day when im not on break.

  • What’s been your biggest achievement during your apprenticeship?

    I have attended neurodiverse internship meet days and answered any questions they may have, to be asked to attend this was a real boost and it was nice to be recognised and asked to get involved.

    ECC are extremely supportive, leading me to becoming more successful, as I am fully supported from day one. All of my onboard training when I first started was excellent and I learned a lot from this from basic office rules and regulations to more intriqute corporate governance information.

    My biggest achievement to date since starting my apprentice with ECC must have to be staying consistent and hardworking, I can see growth in my future now and that’s something I want to stick at finally in my life.

  • Where do you hope your apprenticeship will take you?

    Achieving a future in Project management eventually is my long-term goal after gaining my NVQ. I will be aiming to progress into a full time business support administrator once I have completed my apprentice.

  • What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship within ECC?

    To anyone who is looking into an apprenticeship with ECC, it’s a very good opportunity and you would be lucky to be with such a supportive organisation.  It’s a no brainer and an apprenticeship isn’t just for the younger generation, it offers so much and you can never be to old to learn something new somewhere so recognised with many opportunities.

Apply for an apprenticeship with Essex County Council today!

Jack Goodrick

IT Solutions Technician Apprenticeship – Level 3

Since my college days, I’ve come to appreciate just how remarkable computing technology is. IT facilitates not just an improvement on quality of life, but in businesses as well, delivering quality customer service and leaving clients satisfied, leaving the door open for repeat collaboration.

It’s been my hope that through working in an IT role, I could learn how to be part of that process. In today’s era, it’s not particularly difficult to find such a position across the job market, but which company to choose?

Click on each question below to hear what Jack has to say:

  • What attracted you to an apprenticeship within ECC?

    For many companies, especially in tech, there is only the project. There is only the deadline. There is only the next problem to solve. While that is often integral to the learning process, there is no growing connection with colleagues nor customers, leading to a sense of disconnect. ECC, however, retain strong connections, and since I began my apprenticeship with them, I already feel part of their community.

    And the experience – invaluable. That’s the other fundamental half of the learning equation, in my opinion, and what drew me to do an apprenticeship, because I’m not just learning from my team, but from so many colleagues across different departments. Their experiences offer a learning perspective that can be lacking from learning resources alone.

  • What does your average week look like?

    Never a dull moment, that’s for certain. My duties in Device Management provide a dynamic working environment, from appointments (and walk-ins) to laptop repairs, there’s a certain ebb and flow to each day in the office. Mornings tend to be the busiest time, then when it settles down later in the day, I can either focus on my Apprenticeship tasks or assist with backlog repairs and 2nd Line Support.

  • What’s been your biggest achievement during your apprenticeship?

    When I arrived for my first day at ECC, I made sure to hit the ground running, taking the initiative to learn all I could about what I’d be doing on a regular basis and, more importantly, how and why it matters to ECC in the greater scheme. For example, when we explain the security measures put in place by IT Staff to New Starters, it isn’t just for Security’s sake, but because of Data Protection and GDRP Laws.

    Although I am in Device Management, I have taken steps to contribute to 2nd Line Service. Normally, I would simply be limited to laptops, but since 2nd Line often faces several mobile phone related queries – which require additional permissions not granted to Device Management – I have been permitted with additional responsibilities along with the required tools.

    Having those non-standard tools, on top of performing my regular duties, is fulfilment made manifest, especially when it’s acknowledged by someone.  It also has the added benefit of aiding the final assessment of my Apprenticeship.

  • Where do you hope your apprenticeship will take you?

    ECC’s vast Tech Service departments means that I’m somewhat spoiled for choice. I could deepen my understanding within Service Operations, exploring the different methods to incorporate AI, or pursue Data Analysis and Cloud Architecture. Personally, I’ve always had a preference for Software Development – coding and the like – and integrating creative solutions into as many forms of technology as possible, emulating the wonders that gripped me to the technological world.

  • What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship within ECC?

    For me, I would emphasise the importance of commitment. It’s not just the assigned work duties they’ll be responsible for, but also whatever tasks their learning provider assigns them. These can come in the form of one big topic that will take multiple months to cover, or on a week-by-week basis, which is how my Apprenticeship operates. One week I’m learning about the nature of the Software Cycle, the next I’m covering the laws and legislation of data, so it’s a bit of a balancing act, albeit one you can prepare for.

    If they’re prepared for such a commitment, then I wholeheartedly encourage them to explore all available apprenticeships within ECC, including the sectors they may feel they aren’t 100% comfortable or knowledgeable of. ECC does a very thorough job during the recruitment and interview process, and you might find yourself considering an alternative you hadn’t thought of, regardless of your skill level.

Michael McKinstry

Graduate Finance Trainee – Level 7

I was attracted to completing an apprenticeship within ECC as the Finance Graduate Scheme gave me a great opportunity to study towards a professional qualification whilst working and gaining experience within a new profession.

I was attracted to working in the public sector as it could provide me with an opportunity to support residents in ways that working in the private sector does not.

Click on each question below to hear what Michael has to say:

  • What attracted you to an apprenticeship within ECC?

    Following university, I worked in the legal sector but did not have the opportunities to progress and the work did not feel satisfying to me. I was frustrated with the lack of development I faced, both personally and professionally, therefore I wanted a new role. The graduate scheme at ECC provided me with a clear progression plan that meant I could be confident of long-term job security and personal development, and feel a lot more satisfied with the work I was completing.

  • What does your average week look like?

    Whilst studying towards the CIPFA qualification, I will typically attend study days two days a week, then work the remaining three days of the week. I will often have weekly catch-ups with my line manager so I can understand any new work that I will be expected to complete, or raise any issues I’m having with balancing working and studying.

    I rotate between teams every 6 months and have regular contact with a CIPFA learning coach who ensures that I am progressing with my apprenticeship. I can typically balance these well and have plenty of time to revise for the exams alongside completing my work tasks. Whilst at ECC I have been involved in a variety of work including supporting the Homes for Ukraine scheme and key Financial Accounting analysis into accruals, payroll and recharges.

  • What’s been your biggest achievement during your apprenticeship?

    The most rewarding achievement so far during my time at ECC has been working on the Homes for Ukraine scheme. This scheme provided me with an opportunity to see how many residents and Ukrainians across the county are being supported and understand the aims of ECC to provide additional support. This enabled me to consider how important the work that we complete everyday is and when I am involved in other areas of the council, it will mean that I can understand the wider impacts. The public sector is an incredibly important part of this country, and it has been an insight into the great things that occur across the country.

    I have also been incredibly pleased with how well I have performed in my exams. Having not studied finance before, it has been gratifying to achieve great scores so far and hopefully this will continue.

  • Where do you hope your apprenticeship will take you?

    Following the completion of my apprenticeship, I hope that I can continue to progress within ECC to more senior roles as I gain more skills and understand more about the world of public sector finance.

    I hope that I can gain a wide amount of experience beyond the graduate programme so that I can be more well-rounded and may even consider working in other public sector organisations to understand the interconnected nature of the public sector and different ways of working. I hope that I can continue to be successful wherever I work and am able to maintain my passion for the public sector.

  • What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship within ECC?

    I would encourage them to apply as working for ECC has allowed me to make some great friends, study towards a challenging qualification and complete some important work. Having worked in the private sector, I believe that the work I am completing now is more impactful and I have a much better work/life balance. I have enjoyed working and studying at the same time and look forward to becoming fully qualified.

Abbie Quye

Regulatory Compliance Officer Apprentice – Level 4

During my time completing my A-Levels I knew that I didn’t want to go to university and always felt an apprenticeship would be suited to me.

An apprenticeship meant I could have hands on experience while completing my studies which appealed to me as my preferred learning technique and how I process/remember information is through doing it rather than just reading it.

Click on each question below to hear what Abbie has to say:

  • What attracted you to an apprenticeship within ECC?

    The A-levels I studied were Business, Law and Criminology and always thought I would go work in a law firm. When researching apprenticeships after finishing my A-Levels nothing stood out to me. A couple months had passed, and I was losing motivation and then I stumbled upon the job advertisement for ‘Regulatory Compliance Officer Apprentice’ with Essex County Council Trading Standards. I had never even heard of Trading Standards before, when I researched it further it seemed perfect for me, bringing all 3 of my A-Levels together.

    Business – understanding how businesses operate and types of businesses.

    Law – the laws in which businesses must comply with.

    Criminology – reasons for non-compliance and how to educate and work with businesses to comply.

  • What does your average week look like?

    An average week is hard to describe as it is always changing and no week is ever the same. I always try and go out on visits to businesses with my Trading Standards Officer colleagues to gain as much experience and knowledge I can, so that could easily take up a couple days of my week.

    I often write up visit documents during the visit and be a second set of eyes to observe the situation. When working on my laptop I am able to do this from home or from our office so I enjoy the flexibility of the job. We have weekly meetings to catch up on what everyone has been doing and bounce ideas off each other if someone needs any help.

  • What’s been your biggest achievement during your apprenticeship?

    I am entering my exam period of my apprenticeship, so I should be finishing my apprenticeship in the next few months. This I would say is my biggest achievement, I have managed to navigate a new challenge in a completely new sector and have gone from knowing nothing about Trading Standards to being an active member of my team.

    I feel confident in my knowledge and skills for my upcoming exams and my colleagues have helped me and taught me what they know they whole way through which I am grateful for.

  • Where do you hope your apprenticeship will take you?

    At the end of my apprenticeship, I will be a qualified ‘Regulatory Compliance Officer’ which is exciting. I plan on further expanding my knowledge by moving into a second apprenticeship, ‘Trading Standards Professional Apprentice’ where upon completion I will be a fully qualified Trading Standards Officer.

  • What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship within ECC?

    In my experience working for Essex County Council Trading Standards, I could not recommend it enough, they care about your needs and help progress your learning not just through my apprenticeship but through additional training courses I have been on.

    I also love the flexibility of being able to work from home or go into the office and catch up with colleagues. There is no competitive pressure between colleagues, everyone works together and has the same goal of protecting consumers and educating Essex businesses.

Apply for an apprenticeship with Essex County Council today!

Ayo Akingbehin

Youth Support Worker Apprenticeship – Level 3

I have a lot of experience working with young people in schools and various sport. I valued the opportunity to develop my self in youth work whilst gaining my youth work qualification in the process. I am excited about the opportunities ECC offers to support young people in my community.

Click on each question below to hear what Ayo has to say:

  • What does your average week look like?

    I manage my apprenticeship during the week, making sure I include my 6 hours of study even during busy weeks. An average week involves supporting youth sessions at the youth centre; however, I support in other centres when required. My working hours are flexible which I find very beneficial as it allows me to plan my week accordingly. The term ‘no two days are the same’, is spot on when it comes to my role, as one day I may be having a meeting with committees or ECC staff and the next I am supporting with the general running of the youth centre or supporting the detach team doing detached youth work in the community.

  • What’s been your biggest achievement during your apprenticeship?

    I consider myself to be in an early stage in my apprenticeship and ECC, but I have been exposed to a considerable number of opportunities and services which would not have been possible if I didn’t take a bold step to start my career in youth work.

    I don’t have one big achievement, but I have made a positive impact in the lives of the young people I support in the service. For example, whilst supporting an enhanced education program for secondary school students, I have noticed a positive shift in their behaviour and attitude towards the service.

  • Where do you hope your apprenticeship will take you?

    I cherish every opportunity within the ECC and being part of the team that want to make a difference in the lives young people and make a positive shift in the general view of youth work in the community.  Once qualified as a L3 youth worker, I would like to combine my experience in sports with the skills I’ve acquired during my apprenticeship to build upon sports mentoring as a tool within ECC in youth work.

    I enjoy working directly with young people so being able to keep doing this even after my qualification would be ideal.

  • What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship within ECC?

    I only have positive things to comment on so far during my apprenticeship. But I’d advise anyone to jump at any given opportunity to learn new skills. Be part of conversations involving youth work and build upon your connections even if you don’t think you have enough experience yet. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so cherish your journey and remember there is always support within ECC.

Chloe Budd

Town Planning Apprenticeship – Level 7

I was attracted to an apprenticeship at ECC as it gave an opportunity to work while earning a degree in Town Planning. I had been looking for an apprenticeship but this one caught my eye as it allowed for progression after the apprenticeship and allowed me to make a difference and see how my work has an effect.

I liked the idea of being able to work alongside my degree as the Planning system is ever changing meaning that practical on the job skills could be developed while learning.

Click on each question below to hear what Chloe has to say:

  • What does your average week look like?

    Currently my weeks consist of working from home and in the office as well as conducting site visits occasionally. I study at a University in London one day a week, where I get to spend time with other apprentices and gain my degree.

    By incorporating my studies into my working week, it means that I am able to have a work life balance and the apprenticeship allows me to further the knowledge I gain at university and put it into practice in the workplace through many different experiences.

  • What’s been your biggest achievement during your apprenticeship?

    I have only been doing this apprenticeship for the last 4 months, so I am still in the early stages of my apprenticeship. My biggest achievement so far is having the opportunity to work between different teams and have the opportunity to shadow different team members to allow me to see the different ways of working within the team.

  • Where do you hope your apprenticeship will take you?

    After I have completed my apprenticeship, I hope to be able to progress further within the planning department and continue to make an impact. I will also be gaining my master’s degree as part of the apprenticeship, so I hope to achieve high grades and gain chartership.

  • What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship within ECC?

    Don’t give up – although you may not always get the exact apprenticeship you want there will be plenty of opportunity to progress within ECC.

    Be prepared – you need to be prepared to work hard as balancing work and a degree can sometimes be difficult but with the support system of ECC you will be able to strive within your apprenticeship.

Alex McCarthy

Digital and Technology Solutions Specialist – Level 7

I wasn’t sure what to do after getting my Physics degree. I had always been interested in IT, and when I saw the apprenticeship, it looked like a fantastic opportunity to grow my skills and take the first step towards a career that I would enjoy.

I had some previous work experience in the public sector, so I knew that it would be a good fit full of helpful people.

Click on each question below to hear what Alex has to say:

Apply for an apprenticeship with Essex County Council today!

Learn more about the work our Entry to Work team does on their dedicated page.