A former apprentice at Bristol City Council has been nominated for a national award that recognises outstanding achievement of people working in public sector HR management.
Ashleigh Richards, an Assistant HR Advisor at the Council, has made it through to the final of the Public Service People Managers’ Association (PPMA) Rising Star 2016 competition. She is now in a head to head battle with one other nominee in an open public vote. The one with the most votes by 22 June is crowned the winner.
The award recognises individuals who have displayed consistent high achievement and identifies future HR leaders in public services.
Part of the judging process has required Ashleigh to use her experience as an apprentice and one of the Council’s leading officers on apprenticeship recruitment, to suggest ways of improving youth employment in the city.
Ashleigh said: “Apprenticeship schemes are designed to give young people the chance to begin their careers by placing them in an environment that will encourage them to learn and develop. Coming into the council as an apprentice gave me the chance to experience the world of work first hand and allowed me to develop skills and confidence under the guidance of some really great people. This is why I focussed my award submission on this theme, it is something I feel strongly about and I believe apprenticeships are part of the solution.”
The Council currently has almost 80 apprentices working across areas that range from skilled trades to communications and business administration. The number of apprenticeships offered by the council has doubled over the past two years.
Councillor Claire Hiscott Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Access to work and training for the young people of Bristol is something I believe to be of huge importance to this city’s economic health and prosperity. We should make it as easy as possible for those leaving school to be able to develop with the full support of employers. I see apprenticeships as playing a vital role in making the world of work accessible for young people across Bristol.
“Ashleigh is a shining example of what an apprenticeship scheme means to someone looking to enter the workplace. Her commitment to developing the Council’s scheme and encourage other employers to take on apprentices is admirable. I am fully behind her nomination for this prestigious award and encourage others to back Ashleigh in the public vote.”
A former apprentice at the council, Ashleigh began her career at City Hall when she had just turned 17, working within the HR department. Following the successful completion of her apprenticeship, Ashleigh was offered a permanent role with the council’s HR team, excelling in encouraging others to take up the apprenticeship scheme.
Ashleigh continued: “I am honoured to have gotten this far and to be one of two being considered for the top prize. Being able to showcase the benefits of the apprenticeship scheme and share my ideas with my peers has been a truly rewarding experience. I have my fingers crossed for success on 22 June.”
To vote for Ashleigh or to learn more about the PPMA Rising Star Awards 2016, you can visit the PPMA website at http://goo.gl/TBjrD9
Anyone who is interested in learning more about apprenticeships at the council can go online and visit www.bristol.gov.uk/apprenticeships