Company name, sector and information about your company
Lancashire County Council. Local government public services
The Facilities Management Service within LCC, part of the Strategy and Performance Directorate. The FM Service has responsibility for a range of services including:
Financial management of property budgets- c.£20M
Accommodation planning/redesign, space planning and allocation of occupation, relocation services
Security and access control management
Building cleaning services, including emergency response crime scene cleaning
Conferencing and catering services across 5 sites in Lancashire
Premises compliance/health and safety management 150 sites
Operational management of 150 premises including frontline receptions and security
Property repair and maintenance services including plant engineering services
Emergency duty response 24/7 service
Name: Clare Joynson
Which type of Apprenticeships do you have? Please include if it is intermediate, advanced or higher.
In the past we have had entry level apprentices who have remained with the service and developed sufficiently to obtain permanent posts. We also have a number of staff who have benefited from undertaking intermediate and advanced level apprenticeships through the current apprenticeship levy programme across a number of disciplines. Below is an example of apprenticeships we have in the Service currently and those previously completed:
Entry Level e.g. Level 2 in Business administration, Customer Service and Facilities Management
Intermediate Level e.g. Level 3-5 in Management studies, Project Management, Facilities Management
Higher Level e.g. Level 6 Chartered Manager
Why did you choose to hire an apprentice?
I have had a great deal of successful experiences from apprentices I’ve employed in previous organisations and within LCC, and I also feel quite passionate about giving young people an opportunity to gain some valuable work experience and enable them to break into the work place at an entry level, where they will be given support and experience work based learning, as against an academic route, which doesn’t suit all school leavers and yet there are some great skills that just need to be tapped into in a different way to traditional learning.
I have found it is an affordable way to gain additional resources to my service and with the right level of investment on our side, we have had considerable success and has proven to be mutually beneficial.
In addition to the entry level apprenticeships, there has been some great experience gained and knowledge developed within the team, from the opportunities presented since the apprenticeship levy was introduced, and we’ve had a number of our staff across varying disciplines and grades, benefit from intermediate and higher level study, which without doubt brings benefits to the Service/organisation, but is also a very positive example for staff of our investment in them and hopefully will help with retention and succession planning.
Of course we have also experienced losing good staff after they have benefited from the training investment, which is disappointing, and whilst I appreciate we can’t hold on to everyone who has ambition and aspirations for other career paths, it would be beneficial I feel for the organisation to agree with participating staff, that they are required to remain with the authority for a period of say 2 years following completion of their qualification.
What benefits has your company seen from hiring apprentices?
The benefit of the additional resource within the team and removing pressure from existing staff in having the support to undertake certain duties which can often be time consuming for our team but are essential to be done, and allows us to focus on higher level service delivery. A mentoring opportunity for existing supervisors and managers to gain experience in supporting the apprentice.
The satisfaction of seeing a young person flourish from your own input and that they may go on to succeed in future life from the investment we have made in them.
The investment we’ve made in supporting and training an apprentice has led to some entry level candidates remaining with the team and securing permanent jobs, so the investment made in training the apprentice and exposing them to greater responsibility throughout their apprenticeship study period, as paid dividends and mutual benefit.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about becoming or hiring an apprentice?
Thinking about becoming an apprentice – To consider seriously about it being a positive alternative to academic study or working on a casual basis, as there is no better experience to be gained than working alongside experienced professional people at the same time as learning, and being in a real life example of what you are studying, so you can immediately relate your assignments and studies to the environment around you. Don’t worry about the stigma that may be related to the term ‘apprenticeship’, as it is no longer a poorly paid low level achievement, and can give your CV the edge that employers are looking for, as it demonstrates not only an educational attainment, but work and life experience gained at the same time.
Often at the end of the period of study, with the experience gained, your earning potential and employability can be as attractive as a graduate leaving university without any relevant work experience. Life skills and social skills can be gained from being in a workplace while studying and this can again make you stand out to prospective employers and give you confidence to progress, as you are developing as an individual and maturing beyond your years through your interactions with colleagues and on the job opportunities for mentoring and coaching from those who are supporting you.
Thinking about hiring an apprentice – To embrace it as an opportunity to gain a member of staff in your team that is keen to work and learn and from my experience has an open mind as to what they may be asked to do from one day to the next in fulfilling relevant work experience to support them in their studies. I have found them to be a flexible member of staff who has been willing to work across a range of teams with our department, which makes them more rounded and offers more scope for the service to tap into the resource to support in different areas when workloads may require additional help. To think about the benefits it can bring to your existing workforce, who may develop new skills themselves in managing an apprentice and supporting them through their work based learning. To think about the potential to be found in an apprentice and how this may convert into a permanent resource in the future and so the investment in time and support is not wasted.
Please tell us a positive story regarding apprenticeships that you can share?
An apprentice joined LCC Facilities Management Service approximately 10 years ago. He has admitted that he was not committed or focused on A Level studies and had no real sense of direction for his career at that young age, having not long left full time education.
His potential soon shone through to the managers within the Service, and through his enthusiasm and willingness to learn, beyond his level of responsibility, he soon gained in confidence and became genuinely interested in Facilities Management as a career of choice.
Upon completion of his apprenticeship, LCC offered the opportunity for a funded degree course, and he was successful in his application. He dedicated 5 years to part time study at UCLAN and attained a 1st Class BSc in Facilities Management.
During this time he progressed through the ranks in the Service and became a Grade 8 Facilities Operations Manager with responsibility for County Hall Complex Headquarters in Preston. With this role he had to take on people management responsibility, which for a relatively young person was a challenge, but he rose to the challenge and during this time commenced a further period of training and attained an ILM Level 5 Management studies.
Following the Service being given increased responsibility by LCC, which saw a growth in our managed property portfolio from 30 to 150, there was a restructure undertaken and new posts created. Two years ago, this person successfully attained a new position as a G10 Senior Facilities Manager and has since gone on to complete a NEBOSH health and safety qualification and just this week has received confirmation of a further qualification with NEBOSH specialising in Fire Safety.
So from a young person who was not sure what to do next in life, he has grown and matured in both a personal and professional sense and in a period of just over 8 years has gone from a young entry level apprentice to a Grade 10 senior manager, who has earned the respect of his peers and colleagues across the organisation. This has been a great achievement for the individual but equally been a considerable asset to LCC as an organisation and has enabled the FM Service to support and grow the talent internally and benefit from all the knowledge and skills he is now bringing to the team. Indeed he is now mentoring other young staff and responsible for a new apprentice who has expressed an interesting in studying Facilities Management further.