London Councils is delighted to announce the winners for the 2022 London Borough Apprenticeship Awards, which celebrate the exceptional impact apprentices have made across local government in London. The winners per category are as follows:
Apprentice of the Year – Ryan Robertson-Barnes (LB Lewisham)
Ryan is a Trainee Admin Assistant in Lewisham’s Environmental Services and joined in March 2021. Ryan was on the frontline during the pandemic, ensuring waste services remained operational during this unprecedented period. His exceptional maturity, initiative, and professionalism saw him rise to the challenge and provide incredibly well-received customer service.
Ryan's commitment was so outstanding, he volunteered a move during his apprenticeship to Fleet Services where a six-month invoicing backlog had occurred from staff sickness. Single-handedly, Ryan cleared this backlog and ensured the service drew income and balanced its budget.
He is now adept at imparting knowledge to senior colleagues, and is always willing to help team members with urgent deadlines and other priorities. The service has been inspired to take on several more apprentices, and Ryan is credited for demonstrating how successful apprentices can be.
Best Contribution by a New Apprentice – Asiya Mohamud (LB Hammersmith & Fulham)
Asiya played an integral role in continuing to reduce her borough's agency spend through the collation of monthly data to be presented to senior leaders. Through Asiya’s support, identifying and adjusting processes and coordination of multiple stakeholders, the council achieved a further reduction on agency spend of £6.5m for year 2021/22.
Asiya also played a pivotal role in the further development and growth of the Hammersmith and Fulham Academy programme, particularly with the apprenticeship programme. She led apprenticeship network sessions, attended Jobcentre Plus events to engage with residents, helped to create more opportunities for apprenticeships, and supported hiring managers with recruitment and onboarding.
Best Progression by an Apprentice – Akera Okot (LB Camden)
Akera joined Camden‘s Digital Customer Experience team as an Apprentice Project Manager in 2020, responsible for the management and content design of the Council website. During his apprenticeship, he was redeployed for several months to facilitate a coronavirus testing site. Upon returning, Akera successfully found a digital solution to encourage more wedding bookings in the Registrars team. A function which spanned weeks now took minutes, making Camden’s wedding service a strong competitor with other boroughs.
Having surpassed all expectations, Akera was promoted to Digital Customer Experience Officer in August 2021 where he has overseen multiple projects, making online services inclusive and fit for purpose whilst reflecting the Council’s vision. Akera has since been promoted to Associate Product Manager, but has never forgotten his apprenticeship background.
Best Apprentice working in the Supply Chain – Kamal Ahmed (LB Islington)
Kamal works for Higgins Group plc who work on major construction projects to regenerate housing estates in Islington. Many of these estates are the most deprived in the borough. Kamal ensured that the contractors’ commitment to support local training and employment opportunities for local residents is received, understood, and delivered. Kamal has been instrumental in raising the profile of apprenticeships amongst some of the borough's most disadvantaged young people and parents, many of whom are disengaged from the Council’s services. Since he started, there has been an increase in local residents from excluded communities signing up for apprenticeship opportunities and viewing this as a genuine alternative to the university route.
Best Apprentice working in Schools – Brandon Clough (LB Lewisham)
Brandon joined Edmund Waller Primary School as a Finance Apprentice in April 2021 during a period of great challenge, change, and uncertainty in education. He went above and beyond to provide a high-quality finance admin service. He strongly values sustainability, embedding this in working practices across the organisation. Brandon also volunteered to help coach the school football team and offered his IT skills to upskill colleagues.
Brandon has also overcome adversity - he was unable to commence his studies with his training provider for several months due to their enrolment backlog and technical issues. Where others would have been frustrated by this, Brandon handled it with enormous patience, resilience and perseverance. He has quickly become a flourishing asset to the school, and his aptitude and enthusiasm for greater responsibility swiftly led to a promotion as an HR & Finance Officer.
The Andy Scott Award for Best Manager or Mentor – Dahlia Parkinson (LB Lewisham)
Dahlia Parkinson is an employment adviser at Lewisham Council and managed Lisa Lewis, a Business Admin Apprentice, through a huge career change brought about by the pandemic. Through her compassion and uplifting spirit, she gave Lisa a personal growth mind-set and encouraged her to embrace mistakes as learning, resulting in a huge boost in confidence and readiness to try new experiences. Dahlia was an instrumental part of the creation of Apprentice drop in sessions to promote peer support, improve apprentice wellbeing and facilitate networking amongst Lewisham apprentices to achieve better apprentice work culture.
Lisa says: “I am eternally grateful to have received her mentorship and guidance. I wish that every apprentice is as lucky as I have been to have their own Dahlia Parkinson.”
Best Work with Supply Chains and Local Businesses to Create New Apprenticeships – LB Camden
Camden continues to work closely with its supply chain and local businesses to create good work opportunities for residents. Last year, this secured commitments to deliver 47 apprenticeships, 52 work placements, 122 work experience opportunities and 90 jobs. They secured 26 apprenticeships and 19 work placements through section 106. Camden require all supply chain partners to pay London Living Wage in line with Council apprenticeship pay rates. They encourage flexible, part-time working and guarantee interviews for care leavers or those with LDD.
Through their STEAM programme, Camden works with schools and local