Apprenticeships

Meet our apprentices

There are no age limits to becoming an apprentice within the London Borough of Hounslow. 

Whether you are a new start apprentice taking your first steps on the career ladder or upskilling as an existing member of staff, there’s an apprenticeship qualification that’s right for you.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we are providing case studies of the current and past London Borough of Hounslow apprentices. 

Meet our apprentices

Hana Grant, Digital Marketing Apprentice, Hounslow Council

Image of Hana Grant, Apprentice at Hounslow Council.

Why did you decide to become an apprentice? 

As soon as I finished my A-Levels at 18 years old, I went straight into full time work at a media marketing agency in Central London. The idea of paying £30k for university did not appeal to me, so I went straight into work to gain real work experience and skills on the job. I knew it was important to get experience, however it would’ve been nice to study towards a degree. A few years later, I knew I wanted to work on something more relevant and interesting to me - but still marketing related. When I found the Marketing degree apprenticeship opportunity at the council, it was the perfect solution! I was able to earn a pay-check, develop existing and new skills as well as earn a degree - without the debt!

Why Hounslow Council? 

I grew up in London Borough of Hounslow and care about the development of the borough. Therefore, I thought working in the Council was the perfect opportunity to build a closer connection to my community and neighbourhood. I wanted to get involved in council marketing initiatives and projects that highlight Hounslow’s achievements. Additionally, I wanted to build my experience of marketing by stepping into the public sector (I’ve never worked in the public sector before) to experience the processes and challenges that may occur within the Council as well as discover the different media channels used to reach local residents. 

What did you do before you joined us? 

I was working full time at a media marketing agency in London.

What did you study? 

I am currently studying Digital Marketing at London South Bank University as part of my apprenticeship. When I was at school, I studied English, Drama and Media A-level.

What have you enjoyed most about the programme? 

I’ve enjoyed every part of my apprenticeship so far! I’ve enjoyed getting stuck into projects, taking a lead and being trusted with my suggestions and ideas. It’s made me more confident and creative within my role.

Why do you think the apprenticeship programmes are important?  

I think apprenticeships are important because they benefit the employer and apprentice. For an employer, the time and money spent in order to develop the apprentice will benefit the workplace with more trained and highly skilled staff. For an apprentice, apprenticeships can help build their career. It provides the opportunity to utilise the training available, build real work experience, grow your network and earn a qualification. It is another pathway available to start your career and earn a recognised qualification.

Tell us a little bit about what you do for the Council? 

I am a Digital Marketing Apprentice in the Hounslow Adult and Community Education (HACE) team. In a nutshell, HACE provides courses for adults and jobs & training opportunities to support adults into work or improve their career prospects. I market the different HACE services to the Hounslow community. Additionally, as part of my apprenticeship I have to complete off-the-job training which means I dedicate one day a week to spend time with the communications team in order to build my knowledge on Council marketing procedures and principles.

Would you recommend the programme to other young people and why? 

Yes. The Council look after their apprentices well. They treat apprentices equally to permanent staff, so you can easily get on board with projects and feel part of the team. Also, the Council has a team who look after the apprentices and apprenticeships, so participants can easily receive and access help in regards to their apprenticeship. Lastly, the overall council culture is very friendly and welcoming!

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in your role since the pandemic? 

My role is mainly digital so I was still able to deliver and execute work from home, however, my job is very collaborative with different teams and it was a challenge to manage my time between the teams because it was much easier (and refreshing) to see people face-to-face. Also, I had just started at the Council when we went into the pandemic, so I had to learn about the different services and processes from home and be more pro-active in order to balance my responsibilities between work, university and my apprenticeship. 

What are you most proud of?  

I am proud of the Work Hounslow - NHS mass recruitment campaign. The Work Hounslow team partnered with the NHS to recruit a large number of test site operative roles for the Covid-19 mass vaccination. My job was to raise awareness of this partnership by promoting the NHS vacancies available and encouraging users to contact the Work Hounslow team if they want to apply. After the first social post, participant numbers spiked significantly and continued to grow throughout the campaign. Every time a piece of marketing was released, we saw participant numbers grow - the power of marketing! In order to push our messages to more residents, we are currently working with the communications team to publish a press release, utilise the ‘Hounslow Heroes’ and the ‘Next Door’ app! Furthermore, I had to learn how to set up a Live event on Microsoft Teams for our employment advisors to offer an Information session for the applicants. Overall, this campaign was very responsive to the current circumstances of the pandemic, therefore I had to be flexible, adaptable and pro-active to situations. I am proud of re-vamping the old Hounslow Adult & Community Education prospectus after many years of using the same old template! 

 

Saadiq Cornelius, Digital Communications Officer and former events management apprentice, Hounslow Council

Image of Saadiq Cornelius, former apprentice at Hounslow Council.

 

I applied for an apprenticeship with Hounslow Council in events management and audio visual in October 2015 after dropping out of a degree course in electronic engineering. It was a very intensive course and I quickly realised that both the course and university were not for me.

Stepping into the role at the Council felt natural to me. I enjoyed it from day one and gave it 100%. I was on day release to study for a Level 3 NVQ at West Thames College, which I found very beneficial. During that year, I won the Spark Apprentice of the Year, which was a complete surprise and a great accolade. After my apprenticeship, I was kept on in a permanent role. I am now the council’s digital communnications officer. I’m loving it – every day is different. Not everyone at 25 can say they are responsible for the council’s website and social media platforms and keep their community informed about news and issues that matter to them.

 

Lori Mocanu, Library Assistant at Chiswick Library, Hounslow Council

Image of Lori Mocanu, Apprentice at Hounslow Council.

 

Why did you decide to apply for the apprenticeship programme at Hounslow Council?

As I am working in a customer facing role as a library assistant, it was something which I felt will help further my skillset and enhance my customer service position in the future

What did you study or where did you work before you joined the Council?

All my previous positions were in a customer facing role. Before joining the Council, I was employed by Tesco - Supermarkets as a customer assistant. Prior to this, I was working on cruise ships which involved having different roles that included dealing with customers. 

What have you enjoyed most about the programme?

Learning new things such as needs and expectations of customers, importance of feedback for a company, new ways to promote future events, a general understanding of the organisation (rules and regulations, core values and brand promise and understand how the Council works)

Why do you think the apprenticeship programmes are important? 

Improving the service that we are offering to our customers; help you gain the knowledge to succeed in your role and gives you the opportunity to advance in your career.   

Tell us a little bit about what you do for the Council?

I am currently employed as a library assistant. My main duties are to support the community by loaning and returning books using the company management software, helping customers on the public computers with any IT issues, organising different events for the community, being a point of contact for anyone who needs help.

Would you recommend the programme to other young people and why?

Yes, I highly recommend that other people to take part because of the benefits involved such as: learning while you're earning, putting in practice what you learn, strengthening your CV, becoming more confident, possibility to advance in your career and it is a nationally recognised diploma.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in your role since the pandemic?

Myself and my colleagues have been redeployed by being asked to work as a call centre agent for the Hounslow Community Hub which also included other departments within the Council should they need help. Given this, I had to be flexible and learn how other departments function and had to adapt to new rules like the social distancing one way system, quarantine returned books and find a new way to reach out to our customers.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of completing this apprenticeship. The program gave me more confidence in my job, taught me new things, I can share my knowledge with my colleagues and take these skills in my future roles.

Anything else you want to add?

My trainer was very supportive, and I would recommend this to anyone who's looking to improve their skills set. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with you.

 

Gurpreet Thethy , Business Analyst Apprentice, Hounslow Council

Image of Gurpreet Thety, Apprentice at Hounslow Council.

 

Why did you decide to become an apprentice?

I personally love learning and have always ensured that I have the correct knowledge and experience in the field that I am working in. After a service restructure, I found myself in a role which wasn’t an area that I was totally familiar with or had any expertise in and in order to ensure I was able to do my job effectively, I decided to take the decision with support of my manager and family to apply for the apprenticeship in the middle of the first lockdown in March 2020.

Why Hounslow Council?

I have worked for Hounslow Council for over 10 years in various roles and am also a resident, so Hounslow would always be the natural choice for me. I am passionate about Hounslow, I have seen the Council change through many restructures and transformations and have in some way grown and developed with the Council. I appreciate that it has been extremely tough for public sector bodies in recent years to do more with less and in order to stay relevant I wanted to ensure that I am upskilled and moving in the same direction as my team, department and the organisation as a whole.

What did you do before you joined us?

I have been in Hounslow for 11 years, and before joining I worked for Brent Council in the Anti-Social Behaviour Team. I decided to move to Hounslow when my ideal job was created in my home town it was the perfect move for me, as I have never left since joining.

What did you study?

I did my BSC at Southbank University in Criminology and Psychology and have various qualifications e.g. mindfulness diploma, level 2 mentoring, train the trainer, reiki and am also currently completing a coaching diploma in my spare time.  

What have you enjoyed most about the programme?

As I started my apprenticeship in September 2020 it has all been conducted online via virtual training sessions. However, I cannot fault them at all, as the training session and online resources and support have been super helpful and interactive. I enjoy learning new information and I have found that a lot of the content so far has been new and delivered in an engaging way.

Why do you think the apprenticeship programmes are important?

I have studied for various types of qualifications over the years from BTEC’s and Diplomas to NVQ’s and a degree. What I like about the apprenticeship programme is the learning ‘on the job’ aspect. Anything I learn in a virtual training class I am able to practice and demonstrate in the work place. The ongoing courses that are required to be completed every month also add value to developing my skill set. The apprenticeship is split up nicely with the modules and project portfolios and the regular support provided from my tutor and my technical advisor is really helpful.

Tell us a little bit about what you do for the Council?

I am a Business Analyst for the Community Enforcement and Regulatory services department. My role involves analysing current business processes to see how they can be more effective, I am an agent of change and work with all officers to work towards a common goal. I have spent some time working to automate and integrate forms for the department which made reporting easier for residents and less time consuming for officers. I am usually involved in multiple projects at any one time, all at different stages of the project lifecycle. I also volunteer as a mentor for an apprentice and work closely with the develop and learn team to help support the creation and delivery of key webinars for managers and staff on the new check in conversations. In previous years I have volunteered as work smart change agent and more recently as a culture change champion within the #1hounslow programme alongside my day job.

Would you recommend the programme to other young people and why?

Absolutely, for anyone who wants to gain a qualification and experience simultaneously there is nothing better than joining an apprenticeship scheme.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in your role since the pandemic?

I actually started the apprenticeship in September 2020 and applied during Spring 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. I felt that learning something new would also be helpful to my mind-set to keep me focused and to keep me on my toes. However having to work from home, home school and manage my health conditions have been challenging. Like most colleagues I am also really missing the social interactions with my peers and the buzz of the office environment, however am hoping that everyone stays safe during this unprecedented time.

What are you most proud of?

Being able to meet my portfolio project deadlines, while doing my day job, extra work with the develop and learn team as a culture change champion and eight hours of off the job training a week as well as trying to home school my young daughter. It has been hectic but keeping busy and prioritising workloads has helped me meet all my goals. I have received great support from my manager at work and family in order to be able to achieve my goals. I am also really pleased to have been recommended as an ‘outstanding apprentice’ by my apprenticeship training provider.

Anything else you want to add?

I would just like to add that in the current climate it is so easy to feel demotivated and overwhelmed, however I would really suggest reaching out to peers and family for support as well as using the time to reflect, relax and refocus.

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