Croydon Council has been shortlisted in a trio of categories in the prestigious London Borough Apprenticeship Awards 2020.
Out of the five award categories – which recognise the contribution of London’s apprentices to their communities and the innovative work creating new apprenticeships – the borough is featured in three of them.
Nazifa Chowdhury is in the running for Best Progression by an Apprentice, David Osborne for The Andy Scott Award for Best Manager or Mentor and the borough has been shortlisted for Best Work with the Supply Chain and Local Businesses to Create New Apprenticeships.
Twenty-year-old Nazifa is currently working as a full-time apprentice in the council’s financial department.
In her nomination the council wrote: “Nazifa came to the council as a quiet 17-year-old and has developed into a confident and capable young officer. She is a phenomenal ambassador for apprenticeships and has delivered extraordinary presentations to cabinet members, economic summit and the Local Government Association. She has also encouraged new apprentices to stay focused and work hard.”
Nazifa said: “I am excited for myself and for Croydon because for it to be shortlisted in three of the categories is a massive accomplishment. Our council is really good at apprenticeships and the best thing about doing them is that you gain experience as well as a qualification. I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ for hiring me and supporting me in my development. By the end of my apprenticeship I hope to be a fully-qualified accountant.”
The council’s apprentices’ scheme is part of the Choose Your Future campaign which encourages young people to make positive life choices. Since it started the call to action it has engaged with thousands of young people and been linked to a 17 per cent drop in knife crime. Last year it won the LGC Awards’ communications campaign of the year category at a ceremony celebrating the best initiatives in local government.
David Osborne is the council’s cemetery horticultural manager who oversees a team looking after all the gardens and maintenance of the borough’s cemeteries. He is currently managing a young apprentice and helping him complete his coursework with a philosophy of ‘Work-Enjoy-Develop!’
He said: “It’s nice to be recognised because an apprenticeship is such a good idea for young people. With apprentices you’ve got to get them to enjoy the profession because if they enjoy it they’ll do well. And you also want people to become responsible so they can look around and see for themselves what needs doing. Croydon is a good employer for apprentices because it offers the full working wage.
“I am full of praise for both Nazifa and David for their outstanding work which has benefitted others over the past year. I am also delighted that the council, in partnership with training providers and employers across the borough, has been shortlisted in recognition of creating new apprenticeships. This was achieved through our innovative 100 in 100 campaign, part of our award-winning Choose Your Future Campaign, and resulted in 120 new apprenticeship opportunities being created involving 60 employers. Our shortlist success proves that Croydon is taking the lead in providing more and more opportunities for its residents.”
Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, cabinet member for economy and jobs
Councillor Georgia Gould, deputy chair of London Councils and executive member for skills and employment, said: “The awards highlight the diversity of apprentices across London and shines a spotlight on those individuals who have excelled in their chosen field of work and in giving back to London’s communities. It is a huge privilege to recognise the hard work and impressive achievements of the apprentices and those that support them.”
An awards ceremony will be held at Painters’ Hall in central London on Thursday, 3 September.
If you are interested in starting an apprenticeship then visit croydon.gov.uk/jobsatcroydon/apprenticeship