Friday, 10 March 2017

Fifi's Apprenticeship Story

Fifi Bula 

We interviewed Fifi Bula who is an apprentice in the Education and Skills department. Read Fifi's inspirational story below.

How did you get into the apprenticeship?

I previously volunteered at City View Children Centre for almost a year and at Brighton Job Centre for a few months, at the end of my volunteering period at the Job Centre my advisor suggested I searched for apprenticeship roles in administration. I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical about the idea but decide to give it a try. I went on the council website and came across a Level 2 in Business administration. I applied for my role with very little knowledge and a lot of misconceptions on apprenticeships. But after reading the job’s description for the role, I believed it to be suitable for me.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your apprenticeship so far?
Fifi with the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills at 
the House of Commons for National Apprenticeship Week 2017
During my period of unemployment I remembered how I would constantly remind myself that I need to find a fulfilling job, not a ‘dead-end job ‘ or something simply to make ends meet. As a mother, providing for my children is crucial but I remember the following quote by Steve Jobs “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”. I felt very comfortable in my new role as an apprentice as some of the tasks were quite similar to those in my previous volunteering roles. I am extremely lucky to be working with some amazing people. In my role I support my manager providing services to schools and liaise between Schools and the Service providers. I work in a dynamic and often very demanding environment but the support from my mangers, colleagues and my assessor from City College has been extraordinary, I have now completed my Level 2 Business administration and I am progressing onto Level 3. Onwards and upwards!

What are the rewards of doing an apprenticeship?

My apprenticeship has helped me develop skills such as oral and written communications skills; I have learnt to balance and manage workload and mainly to prioritise. I do love being a mother but I believe to be so much more and through my apprenticeship  I’ve found a new  sense of purpose , providing services to schools all through the city makes me feel  valuable and reinforce a sense of belonging. It’s a privilege to be able to work while learning; gaining a qualification while earning a living. It’s a win - win situation and the feeling and satisfaction it brings is indescribable.

Would you recommend apprenticeships to others?

I would definitely recommend ‘Apprenticeships’ and certainly advocate to others. Through my work I have met others apprentices who have accomplished amazing things and many who are on their way to achieving their goal and realising their dreams.  I have not decided what my next step will be but I am enjoying the journey so far. Working full time and being a single parent can be challenging but with the right support system, I now realised that when I started my apprenticeship I was far from understanding what I was getting myself into… I underestimated where my apprenticeship could take me.  I realised that I can exceed my own expectations, sky’s the limit!

Apprentice Technical Support Officer - Sajid Rahman

Sajid and the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

Sajid Rahman 

Age: 19
Apprenticeship: Technical Support Officer
Qualification: Level 2 Business Administration 

Before my apprenticeship I went to BHASVIC college to study my A levels. I studied maths (pure and mechanics), biology and physics. After college when weighing up my options I realised that I did not like the university type studying with lectures and that I prefer to learn whilst working.

I currently work for Brighton & Hove City Council as an Apprentice Technical Support Officer in Regulatory Services. My day to day tasks involve answering the phones, processing job sheets for offices, going out on site visits that range from noise complaints to pest control and licensing inspections.

I am currently undertaking a Level 2 Business Administration course with City College in Brighton. After my I complete my apprenticeship, I hope to progress further in the business environment and take on higher apprenticeships.  

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Transport Projects Apprentice - Mairna Marzoug

Mairna Marzoug

Age: 18
Apprenticeship: Transport Projects
Qualification: Business Administration Level  2 

Before my apprenticeship I studied A-level accounting, maths and physics at BHASVIC College. I really enjoyed the subjects that I was doing and the different opportunities that they had on offer to develop your skills and gain more experience.

 I realized that a lot of the work I was doing was in preparation for exams, whereas I wanted to focus on skills and experience that I could carry with me into a professional working environment. I also wanted to be able to have more time to learn and overcome the new challenges that come with working professionally. Therefore, this apprenticeship was a great opportunity as it was in the sector that I was looking for, and it was a happy middle ground between college and work.

My day-to-day tasks include general administration tasks e.g. minute taking, reporting data, handling mail, writing emails and using the phone. In my job I am also given time to complete my college work, I am undertaking a Business administration Level 2 which is run by City College in Brighton. My favourite project I have worked on so far has been the ‘Breeze up to the Downs’ Project where I get to experience the marketing side of the apprenticeship. I work alongside my manager as we liaise with the designers for the leaflets, planning the contents of the various leaflets for each season, as well as producing distribution lists and taking minutes for the group meetings.

I am currently in the early days of my apprenticeship; I want to explore the different apprenticeship options for the future, such as a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Finance which Brighton and Hove City Council offer. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Apprentice Support Officer - Joshua Fahimifar

Joshua Fahimifar 

Age: 18
Apprenticeship: Support Officer
Qualification: Level 4 Business Administration

Before i started at the council I worked in retail and IT sales and attended college. I had studied Design in my first year and didn’t do the best, so after one year of doing A-Levels I decided to study carpentry at City College. I became a qualified carpenter but really didn’t think it was for me and decided to look into an apprenticeship at the council as my friend had done one and has been quite successful. I applied for the role of Apprentice Support Officer and got the job!

I chose my role as I was interested in the aspect of Project Management and wanted to learn more about the way Project Management is done within the local council. I also thought it would be rewarding delivering various projects and producing work that is valued to others. So far so good! I am really enjoying it right now.

City college run my course right now and my mentor is great. I get all the support I need and the feedback of my work is really good.

In my apprenticeship I help senior managers with work they may have, which is different all the time. My role in the team is supporting our team drive modernisation within the council and contributing to high level work. I also produce presentations that go along to senior level managers, as well as attending meetings, and taking actions from them.

After my apprenticeship I hope to do another Project Management Role such as a junior position, but right now I’m focusing on my qualification.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Transport Projects Apprentice - Jonathon Martin

Jonathon Martin

Jonathon in a meeting
Age: 22
Apprenticeship: Transport Projects Apprentice
Qualification: Level 2 Business Administration

Before my apprenticeship I mainly worked in bars after I left college and I briefly did a stint as a Call Centre Representative.

After I moved to Brighton I decided to further my education. Unfortunately, going to university and earning wasn't an option, so I looked at other opportunities.

An apprenticeship gave me the best of both worlds, and allowed me to study Business Administration whilst also working in a relevant environment, gaining skills and qualifications. 

My apprenticeship involves various tasks that change week to week. For example, I have spent the last week attending a National Standards cycle training course, learning how to train people of all ages to cycle safely on the roads. The week before that I took minutes at meetings for a variety of exciting projects that are being planned. 

Once I have completed my apprenticeship I am looking to take my newly acquired skills and knowledge and put them into practice, either here at Brighton & Hove City Council or in the private sector.

National Apprenticeship Week 2017

This week is National Apprenticeship Week 2017 which celebrates the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

The apprentice ambassadors will be doing a variety of things to celebrate apprentices and spread the word about apprenticeships.

Throughout the week there will be case studies posted onto the Apprentice Ambassadors' blog. These will be of current council apprentices talking about what their apprenticeships involve, what they were doing before and what they would like to do after they have completed them.

Apprentice Ambassadors will be going to City College's open evening on Wednesday. They will be speaking to people about apprenticeships, what they are, how you can apply for one and the vacancies that are currently available at Brighton & Hove City Council.

The Ambassadors will also be visiting Cardinal Newman as part of the school's careers week. They will have a stand where pupils will be able to talk to the apprentices and ask them any questions they may have on apprenticeships.

On Thursday afternoon, the council apprentices are holding a graduation ceremony. Hosted by the council's Chief Executive, Geoff Raw, current and former apprentices who have completed their apprenticeships will be invited to celebrate one another's achievements and receive graduation certificates.

To keep up to date with what the council apprentices are up to and more things happening for National Apprenticeship Week check out our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Brighton & Hove City Council Competing to be crowned Apprentice Team of the Year 2017

Members of the BAC17 team
Brighton & Hove City Council has entered the Brathay Apprentice Challenge (#BAC17), the search for the apprentice team of the year.

Now in its sixth year, the Brathay Apprentice Challenge 2017 sees teams undertake a series of exciting and interactive work-related challenges to develop new skills and showcase their employer by engaging with young people and businesses to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.

The council team consists of apprentices from Planning, ICT, Programme Management Office, Environmental Protection, Child Development, Communications and Skills and Employment.

Team Leader, Georgia Easteal, said: “I'm very excited for the Brathay Apprentice Challenge this year, we have a great team of apprentices from a variety of roles and I am very much looking forward to working alongside them over the next couple of months.”

Over the next few months the apprentices will be organising lots of events, such as school visits, meeting with employers and doing a community project to help them win the Challenge and promote apprenticeships along the way.

Pinaki Ghoshal, Director of Families Children & Learning, said: “The Brathay Apprentice Challenge not only allows the current apprentices to develop a huge range of skills that will help them further their careers but also creates an opportunity for apprenticeships to be promoted to schools and businesses.
“It will be great to see our team progress through this challenge and I wish them the best of luck.”

Teams initially compete on a regional level with eight teams then progressing to the National Finals with the Challenge culminating in a four day Logistical and Team Building Finale at Brathay Trust’s Windermere headquarters from 12 – 15 June 2017.

The apprentice team of the year 2017 will then be announced on 14 June.

The challenges are designed to ensure that the teams demonstrate their team building, leadership, logistical and communications abilities. With teams working together on the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, the apprentices and employers benefit from an enhanced apprenticeship experience.

Follow the team’s progress on Twitter @BHapprentices
For more information on the Brathay Apprentice Challenge visit

Thursday, 2 February 2017

New apprentices join council nurseries

Five new apprentices have joined the council’s nurseries.
Whilst studying towards their Early Years Educator Level 3 qualification they will be working with children aged from 0-5 years.
Their role will be to support the children in their learning and development and ensuring the children receive excellent care.
The apprentices will be learning the curriculum the nurseries use called the Early Years Foundation Stage which includes how to support children’s learning and the policies and procedures that must be followed to ensure quality care for the children and positive relationships with the families.

Joining the nursery teams are:
Ian Godley at Acorn Nursery
Codie Dawes and Liberty Taylor at Cherry Tree Nursery
George Verrall at Jump Start Nursery
Meg Wakefield at Bright Start Nursery

Pinaki Ghoshal, Director of Children’s Services, said: “I am extremely pleased to learn that we have appointed 5 people to work in our nurseries as apprentices. I’m particularly pleased that they are doing Level 3 courses that should provide them with qualifications to work in any nursery across the city.

“They will be supporting young children in their learning and development whilst also earning a wage. When they qualify they should be able to use these skills to work over many years educating future generations of young children across the city.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Council apprentice is finalist for Apprentice of the Year

Apprentice Hannah Cydnie, from the Registrations Team, got through to the finals in this year’s Public Service People Managers' Association's Apprentice of the Year 2016.

The last stage took Hannah to a training event at Warwick University where she received coaching and guidance from the judges and facilitators and took part in group activities as well as individual exercises. These exercises and activities formed part of the assessment centre to help determine a winner.

Hannah was recruited as a level 2 apprentice in 2015 and has successfully moved onto a second apprenticeship at level 3. As well as learning how to legally register marriages and supporting citizenship ceremonies, Hannah has been a mentor to a Supported Internship.

Hannah said: “I had an amazing time and it was great to see the other achievements people have made in the local authorities across England. It was a great experience and I am glad I made it to be a finalist for such a great award.”

Monday, 7 November 2016

Meet the new apprentices at Brighton & Hove City Council

From left to right: Sam, Daniel, Edwin & Chris
There are four new apprentices at the council!

Chris Bubloz and Edwin Davies-Arai have joined the ICT team and Daniel Pruce and Sam Hitchin are new Finance apprentices.

ICT Apprentices

Chris Bubloz

Age: 24
Apprenticeship: ICT Technician
Qualification: Level 2 ICT Professional Competence

I had done 2 apprenticeships before in my previous job and this sounded like a great opportunity to finally do a job I would actually enjoy to do.

I left college in 2012 with a job in the college canteen where I started learning to be a catering manager. I then moved to Brighton & Hove City Council and became the assistant manager within the kitchen. Whilst working there I then found out about all of the apprenticeships the council provides and when I looked into it I thought this would be the best way to get into the trade that I wanted to be in.

I have only been here a month but I already feel my team has provided  me with everything I need to do the job. I feel confident enough to do many tasks now which I didn’t have a clue about before.

After I've completed my apprenticeship I hope to get a full time roll as an ICT technician.

Edwin Davies-Arai

Age: 22
Apprenticeship: ICT Schools Engineer 
Qualification: Level 2 ICT Professional Competence

I worked for a long time outside the field of ICT but this never drew much enthusiasm from me. I took some time to think about what I wanted to do and eventually came to the idea of working in IT which I had developed an interest in outside of work. As I had no qualifications in IT, just personal experience, an apprenticeship made the most sense as it gave me the chance to develop skills, work in the area and earn qualifications. The preference of work over university came from my disillusionment with the education system. I feel like I take more away from a hands on approach to learning and wanted to learn relevant skills.

After finishing college at Varndean I did a year of Art foundation at City College. I decided against university and instead I worked as a project manager for Somnowell and later their sister company Somnowell Marketing. My apprenticeship with Brighton and Hove City Council came about very quickly, the process from finding the opportunity to the start of work was very smooth.

So far my apprenticeship has helped me gain a greater understanding of various pieces of software and hardware. In the most part to do with school servers and systems.

I hope to continue on to be a full time IT engineer, after I finish my apprenticeship.

Finance Apprentices

Daniel Pruce

Age: 18
Apprenticeship: Finance
Qualification: AAT level 2 

Before I started my apprenticeships I was doing A levels at BHASVIC. I then chose to do an apprenticeship so I could earn money whilst continuing to learn.

It has helped me to put my skills into practice giving me a better understanding of accounting and finance, and I've gained lots of friendly colleagues, who have been really welcoming."

I hope to complete AAT level 3 and 4.

Sam Hitchin

Age: 19
Apprenticeship: Finance
Qualification: Level 2 AAT Accounting

I studied business studies in college where I discovered an interest in finance. I thought the best way to get a finance qualification was to do an apprenticeship as it would give me experience of working within different finance teams and I felt it was the best route to get a qualification with the experience of a workplace.

So far I have gained a lot of experience of the financial systems, working in a team, and a basic understanding for finance and accounting processes through college and the workplace.

I hope to continue with the AAT course at Brighton & Hove City Council in order to build experience and complete all of the accounting course levels.