A junior planning officer who started her career as an apprentice with Croydon Council was recently chosen from amongst hundreds of young people to deliver a presentation on her experiences at London’s City Hall.
Syvanna Siragusa was selected to talk to members of the Apprenticeship Information Ambassador Network on behalf of the many people in the capital who have found full-time work thanks to spending time as an apprentice.
Croydon Council has an active apprenticeship programme and has provided work and training for 25 young people in the last 12 months, 10 of whom have gone on to finding full time jobs with the authority. Of the others, the majority have gone on to further employment training.
The council also offers work experience to pupils of schools in the borough, with 69 placements in the last year, a figure that is hoped will be matched in 2016.
Croydon has worked with members of the apprenticeship network since it was established three years ago. The network is made up of 28 independent training providers from across London. Members work together to provide unbiased information, advice and guidance to people looking to find apprentice opportunities.
“I’m delighted that one of Croydon’s newest recruits was singled out to represent the many apprentices who are employed across London. Syvanna has shown determination and commitment and has taken the first steps towards a promising career. She’s a great example to anyone who feels that further education is not the right route for them but who also wants to develop work skills and reach their full potential.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
At school Syvanna obtained excellent GCSE grades but health problems meant she couldn’t complete her A’Levels. Instead she decided to travel to gain experience, and after some time in the USA returned home to get a job. Following advice from family and friends she investigated the apprenticeship programme and attended an initial interview with Hawk Training, a member of the network with an outstanding rating from Ofsted. She was subsequently offered an admin role at Croydon Council and Hawk supported her throughout her time there.
Syvanna said: “When my time as an apprentice was coming to an end I started looking for a permanent job. One came up in another part of the planning department and although I went for it I didn’t think I stood a chance as I knew I’d be up against university graduates and people with experience elsewhere. However, the experience I’d gained on my apprenticeship meant I had just what my new bosses were looking for. I understood the systems and could hit the ground running. I’m 100% certain that if it wasn’t for the things I did and learned as an apprentice I’d never have landed the job I’m doing now – and I’m now enjoying learning more every day.”
Apprenticeships deliver allow people to gain qualifications and increase their employment prospects, they also offer benefits to employers in terms of service, productivity and better recruitment planning. They combine on-the-job training with off-the-job learning.
The learning takes place in a suitable context, supported by an experienced and qualified tutor who works in partnership with the employer and the apprentice.
There are currently around 230 Apprenticeship frameworks across a wide range of vocational sectors and there were 2.4 million apprenticeship starts in England over the last parliament. The Government intends to increase this to 3 million over the current term.