Apprentices hit the mark

By on 31/12/2009 in News

Increased confidence, enthusiasm and transferable skills are just some of the benefits being enjoyed by five new apprentices at Service Birmingham.

The 18-year-old youngsters - Alex Bradley, Alex Lawton, Katie Adkins, Nasir Uddin and Inam Aftab - joined the company in September on a three year programme.

All come from Birmingham schools and were seen as under-achieving for a variety of reasons. Their placement at Service Birmingham is part of the company's ongoing commitment to the schools it works with and is a key part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

“The apprentices get a lot from their placements with Service Birmingham, and the company gets a lot from them in return,” said Kim McCarthy, who runs the apprenticeship programme for Service Birmingham.

“When they come to us they are often quite shy and lacking in confidence and may not have had the most positive experience at school. As well as giving them useful, career-enhancing training and work experience we believe that the confidence boost they get from working in a supportive environment and seeing their skills blossom is worth even more.”

It's a sentiment that's shared by the apprentices themselves. Alex Bradley is currently working on the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Telecoms which is being implemented as part of the Birmingham City Council Business Transformation programme².

“Working here has really increased my confidence a lot, as I have to deal with customers on a daily basis,” he said. “I'd really like to work as a network administrator back in a hi-tech school and this work experience and training is giving me a really good background for that.”

Inam Aftab is one of the apprentices encouraged to join the scheme after a presentation to the 6th form at Sheldon Heath School by one of the previous year's apprentice intake, Nakash Shah, an ex-pupil.

“Nakash was very shy when he came to us,” commented Kim McCarthy, “but he's proven to be a real ambassador. His former teachers were amazed at his confidence when he returned to Sheldon Heath to talk about the scheme.”

Nakash is currently working with Link2ICT at Fort Dunlop along with another two of last year's apprentices, Lauren Jones and Joel Bridgewater.

The apprentices are following an LSC-funded advanced apprenticeship programme via training company Zenos, with on the job experience provided by Service Birmingham. They achieve several qualifications including NVQ Level 3 and City & Guilds Advanced Diploma for IT practitioners, and can then move on to take optional Microsoft certifications, so increasing their employability and skill levels.

“The apprentices all benefit from the experience of working here,” added Kim. “They get out of it what they put in. One indicator it's working for us it that I'm always being asked by colleagues when one of the apprentices will be available – proof that their work is adding real value to Service Birmingham and our clients.”


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Notes to Editors

1. Service Birmingham is a strategic partnership between Birmingham City Council and the Capita Group Plc which will support a transformation in the way the council works; improving services and contributing to its efficiency agenda. This strategic partnership forms part of the council’s objective to find better and more innovative ways of delivering services for the benefit of employees and citizens. The principle of this joint venture focuses on the provision of cost effective, sector leading, ICT services and in supporting the council in achieving its business transformation objectives.

2. * Once implemented VoIP will enable staff to 'log in' to any telephone handset at any workstation across the council's office estate - allowing them to access their own phone number to receive and make calls. This fits in with the aim of offering staff more agile ways of working, which is a key part of the Working for the Future programme, one of nine Business Transformation workstreams being delivered by the council in partnership with Service Birmingham.

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