One of Croydon’s most talented public health officers has scooped a £10,000 scholarship prize after coming out top in the local government equivalent of ‘The Apprentice’.
Denise Blair fought through five rounds of real-world problems posed by councils across the country to beat nine other finalists in the Local Government Challenge 2017. Her win was announced at the national Local Government Association conference in Birmingham this week.
Council Leader, Councillor Tony Newman, was at the conference to congratulate Denise on her win.
“I’m absolutely delighted that Denise has come out as champion in this national search for the most talented and promising officers working in local government today. Council’s face huge challenges over the coming years, and it will only be through the hard work and dedication of people like Denise that we will be able to achieve the ambitions we have for the future of council services.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
The ten contestants were chosen to represent the brightest and the best young talent in local government. Over a series of months at different councils around the country they were given just 24 hours, or less, to come up with practical solutions to five very different issues, often well outside their normal experience. Their results and efforts were judged on innovation and problem solving, political awareness, business acumen, the ability to inspire and motivate others, working collaboratively, and communication.
Working at Croydon on sexual and children’s health in the public health team, Denise clinched the title with her proposal to tackle teenage pregnancy, which she pitched during the conference. She will now be able to use the £10,000 scholarship prize to turn her ideas into reality.
When asked about winning, Denise, who is a Public health principal, said: “It has been great to take part in the LG Challenge 2017. This journey has been one of personal growth, great learning and excitement. I’m really looking forward to implementing the ideas within my proposal. I am so thankful for the support I have received from the council to have this opportunity.
“I’ve learnt a lot about myself, and taking part in this challenge has highlighted to me the importance of building relationships and being committed to solving problems by working together. I’ve also learnt how kind and supportive people can be, particularly when you are open and honest and ask for help.”