London Borough Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the power of community spirit

London Councils is delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 London Borough Apprenticeship Awards, which celebrate the exceptional impact apprentices have across local government in London.

These awards also recognise London boroughs’ dedication to creating apprenticeship opportunities, providing local jobs and training for local people. London boroughs generated a total of 3,137 apprenticeships during the 2020-21 financial year.

As London recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, the kindness and commitment shown by borough apprentices and those that support them has helped London’s local communities to heal and improved the vital work done at a local level. 

This year marks 11 years since the awards began and sees a particularly diverse cohort of winners who have excelled in enriching and empowering their local communities. They include a council worker using his personal experience of the care system to make the care journey a smoother one for others, an apprentice who has streamlined his department’s case management and booking systems saving 700 hours of staff time, and a manager at a local primary school who is committed to ensuring every eligible family is aware of and has access to free school meals.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan, London Councils’ Executive Member for Skills and Employment, said

“London Councils is incredibly proud to celebrate the talented winners of this year’s London Borough Apprenticeship Awards. This year marks 11 years since the Awards were first held to celebrate the outstanding achievements of apprentices working for London boroughs and their supply chains.

“The strength of community spirit shines in this year’s winners, who have excelled in supporting and improving their services and giving back to London’s communities during such a difficult year. Both winners and nominees are a powerful example of what local government can do to empower the communities they serve.

“As we enter the second decade of the Awards, boroughs continue to lead the way in creating apprenticeship opportunities that highlight the value of vocational education, in not only helping people enter the capital’s workforce but laying solid career foundations and expanding the horizons of Londoners of all ages.

“As we continue to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, borough apprenticeships are a vital opportunity to grow skills that London’s diverse communities urgently need, not just to recover, but to flourish.” 

Notes to Editors: 
1) The London Boroughs Apprenticeship Awards were held online from the 20th to the 27th September 2020 with winners announced at 12pm each day on London Councils Twitter and LinkedIn pages. For the full videos announcing winners please click here
2) Full details of the 2021 London Borough Apprenticeships Awards are below:

Apprentice of the Year – La’Jay Taylor (London Borough of Croydon) 
La’Jay worked with a number of teams within the council’s Children, Families and Education - the youth engagement team, the virtual school, the leaving care service, the Children in care council, the Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children project team - and has shown great adaptability. In particular, La’Jay has proven an invaluable asset for the delivery of the Children in Care Council’s activities and sessions. He has been instrumental in the recruitment drive bringing in more young people’s voices to the fore and has successfully managed to build sound relationships with children in care and care leavers. As an ex Croydon care leaver himself, La’Jay is committed to making the care journey a smoother one for the group. 
Best Contribution by a New Apprentice – Sydney Frankland (Westminster City Council) 

Sydney is a Project Development Officer at Westminster City Lions in the Innovation and Change Directorate at Westminster City Council. Sydney has made an outstanding contribution to the City Lions project taking responsibility for two highly visible areas of work: Westminster’s Creative Collective and City Lions Instagram social media channel. The Creative Collective has afforded over 250 young people a platform to share and express their thoughts and feelings in response to the past year. Sydney did an outstanding job encouraging and motivating participation as well as dealing with the logistics and complexities of delivering a wide-ranging project with many stakeholders. A huge responsibility to take on for someone who is so early on in their career. 
Best Progression by an Apprentice - Robert Watts (Westminster City Council) 
Rob Watts is a Business & Enterprise Officer with a focus on broadband and connectivity who is currently undertaking a level 4 Data Analyst Apprenticeship. Since the start of the pandemic the council has received 13,000 individual enquiries and conducted over 1,000 individual 1:1 appointments to support businesses to receive the funding that they are entitled to. To cope with the demand, Rob built new case management systems, appointment booking systems and implemented a new streamlined process. The new systems are forecast to deliver over 700 hours of staff time saved, enabling to identify an additional 50 businesses that went on to receive an additional £2m of funding which they would have otherwise missed out on. 

Best Apprentice Working in the Supply Chain – Lorraine O’Keefe (London Borough of Islington) 
Lorraine O’Keefe is the Apprentice School Business Manager at Yerbury Primary School. She is supporting parents that struggle with IT to fill out benefit applications, ensuring materials and equipment to keep staff and children safe during the pandemic is stocked and led and coordinated a weekly Farmer’s Market slot in Yerbury’s playground. Lorraine also noticed that the number of students claiming Free School Meal (FSM) did not match the number that were eligible. She committed to ensuring that every household from 350+ families be contacted individually to check that everyone who was eligible for FSM funding, had applied to get it. As a result, over 20 additional families were supported to register for FSM. 

The Andy Scott Award for Best Manager or Mentor - Evie Lodge (London Borough of Islington) 
Evie Lodge is the Principal ASC Intelligence Specialist at Islington Council and has managed Mahmood, a Data Analyst Apprentice, since 2019. Mahmood has faced racial discrimination in the past and was also diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult. Under Evie’s management, Mahmood is confident, determined and committed to pursuing a lasting career as a Data Analyst. He has become an expert in new software such as Excel, SQL and Power BI. He says “Before I came to Islington I’d lost my way, but she has given me my dignity back as a working adult and I will probably never be able to repay all the things she has done for me, but I will certainly try.” 
Best Work with Supply Chains and Local Businesses to Create New Apprenticeships – London Borough of Camden  
Camden is committed to the creation of good work for all. In 2020/21 they negotiated 20 apprenticeships via their supply chain and placed 80 through section 106 planning obligations and their work with 56 local businesses. They have focused on supporting existing employers and their apprentices over the course of the pandemic, liaising with training providers to arrange for extensions and breaks in learners’ contracts. They require all of their supply chain to pay London Living Wage in line with the Councils apprenticeship pay rates and have been encouraging employers to access the Kickstart programme and connect this to progression opportunities into apprenticeships where possible. They continue to champion flexible working and offer part time apprenticeships as standard to those who choose them. 



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