Once again Apprentices from the South East Region have triumphed at the Local Government Apprentice of the Year event, with Laura De Campos Duhdamell from Surrey County Council winning the coveted 2023 Local Government Apprentice of the Year award.
Laura, who is a Projects and Partnership Support Assistant and a Level 3 apprentice in Business Administration, won the award by competing in a virtual day of challenges to encourage participants to showcase their skills, expertise, and initiative.
The one-day national event, now in its third year, was designed and delivered by South West Councils and the East of England Local Government Association working alongside the LGA.
Over 130 Level 2 and 3 local government apprentices took part from across the country, making it our biggest event yet and also saw apprentices from councils in Wales and Northern Ireland take part alongside their peers in English local authorities for the first time.
Building on the success of previous events, all those taking part were either current apprentices or qualified within the last 12 months. This year’s event was themed around Net Zero with each activity designed to draw on that theme while helping to develop successful workplace behaviours, linked to a range of apprenticeship standards. Each participant receives an individual report with their scores for each activity and an Employer Checklist with suggested questions for line managers to use with their apprentices.
As well as Laura’s individual success, awards were also presented to the joint runners up, Fiona Steeley (Central Bedfordshire Council) and Krista Walker (Ipswich Borough Council), and the winning team who were judged on a draft comms strategy by a panel of communications professionals from across local government and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. An additional prize was also presented to an apprentice who won the on-the-day social media competition.
The event was chaired by Dr Anna Morrison CBE, Founder and Director of Amazing Apprenticeships who was also a guest speaker at the awards ceremony, taking part in a Q&A with attendees and reflecting on the importance of apprenticeships to local government.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, works to support councils across the country to deliver successful apprenticeship schemes to help young people into training and employment as part of its sector support offer.
Its Apprenticeship Support Programme helps councils to share good practice, provides advice and guidance, supports councils to problem-solve via an action learning programme and audits council apprenticeship programmes through ‘Apprenticeships MOT’ health checks.
Apprenticeship opportunities in local government have expanded significantly in the last five years, with councils in England creating more than 71,000 apprenticeships in over 200 different fields.
Laura De Campos Duhdamell, Projects and Partnership Support Assistant at Surrey County Council and the 2023 Local Government Apprentice of the Year said:
“‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be crowned as the Local Government Apprentice of the year 2023.
“The excitement and joy bubbling within me are beyond words. This honour means so much to me, and I am ready to embrace the responsibilities that come with it. In a way, we are all apprentices of the year in our organisations. We bring fresh ideas, constantly learn and sometimes we are able to even teach others, as a co-chair of the Early Careers network in my organisation I passionately believe that our voices matter.
“This experience has posed a big challenge for all the participants, I believe we were all in the same boat during the competition. But despite the pressure, we’ve all managed to succeed and discover new things about ourselves, in that context I want to extend my congratulation to each of the apprentices who were part of this journey.”
Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the LGA said:
“Congratulations to Laura for becoming the Local Government Apprentice of the Year, as well as all the others who have taken part. I am also pleased to see Fiona Steely and Keisha Pilgrim from my own council, Central Bedfordshire, doing so well.
“We know and appreciate just how incredibly important our apprentices are in local government, as they help councils continue to deliver the vital services our residents need during what are still challenging times. Being able to celebrate and recognise this success is great and I want to thank our apprentices across the country for their dedication and hard work.”
Alison Thompson, Head of Employer Services, East of England LGA said:
“We were delighted to welcome over 130 apprentices from England, Wales and Northern Ireland to complete in a series of challenges throughout the day, show casing the apprentice talent we have in our sector. We have been blown away by the fantastic ideas generated as apprentices worked in their teams during the event, and the energy and passion they each committed. It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with South West Councils and the Local Government Association once again, and we are already looking forward to the event continuing to grow in 2024.”
The full list of winners can be found below:
- Laura De Campos Duhdamell, Projects and Partnership Support Assistant, Surrey County Council
Joint Runners Up
- Fiona Steeley, Apprentice – Fostering Business Support, Central Bedfordshire Council
- Krista Walker, HR Apprentice, Ipswich Borough Council
Team 4, consisting of:
- Keisha Pilgrim, Apprentice – HR Customer Support, Central Bedfordshire Council
- Adam Greenwood, Customer Service Assistant, Norfolk County Council
- Rosie Henderson-Mcgirr, Business Support Officer, London Borough of Camden
- Jack Tickle, Transport Planning Technician, Buckinghamshire Council
- Luke Wren, Customer Contact Adviser, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
- Emily Patterson, Apprentice – Business Administration – Inclusive Communities (Strategy Engagement & Marketing), Bath and North East Somerset Borough Council
- Lee Chilley, Plumbing Apprentice, Swindon Borough Council
Social Media Competition
- Esther Wilcock, Marketing Assistant Apprenticeship, Wakefield Council