London Borough Apprenticeship Awards celebrate community heroes

  • By MadeleineHardy
London Councils is delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 London Borough Apprenticeship Awards, which celebrate the exceptional impact apprentices have across local government in London. 
These awards also recognise London boroughs’ dedication to creating apprenticeship opportunities, providing local jobs and training for local people.
London Councils is celebrating 10 years since the first London Boroughs Apprenticeship Awards were held. This year in particular has been a difficult year for Londoners as the Covid-19 pandemic transformed everyday lives. London boroughs have seen many exceptional apprentices and those that support them go above and beyond during the pandemic, protecting their communities when help was most needed.
The 2020 London Borough Apprenticeship Awards acknowledge and show how many London borough apprentices and managers truly excelled in their response  to the challenges presented by the pandemic.
Award winners include an apprentice who volunteered to be redeployed to help provide food and provisions to vulnerable people, another apprentice who stepped up to the mark and shone when her team were assigned to the Covid-19 response, a young mother who entered the construction industry whilst caring for three young children and a manager who championed kindness above all else. 
These are some of the highlights of the incredible efforts made by London borough apprentices and those that support them.
Cllr. Georgia Gould, Deputy Chair of London Councils and executive member for Skills and Employment, said
“London Councils is incredibly proud to celebrate the talented winners of this year’s London Borough Apprenticeship Awards. The importance of apprenticeships cannot be undervalued and with so many apprentices stepping up this year to support their communities in vital ways, I am pleased that boroughs see an overall increase in apprenticeship opportunities every year.
“Apprenticeships are dynamic examples of what local government can do to empower the communities they serve. These schemes create meaningful opportunities for individuals of all ages, levels of experience, and backgrounds, providing invaluable training and skills for a large number of career paths.
“As we begin to look forwards to London’s post-pandemic future, the opportunities that borough apprenticeships offer to learn skills and expand horizons are essential to London’s recovery.” 
The total number of apprentices employed by boroughs continues to rise each year. Between April 2019 and March 2020, London boroughs generated a total of 3,693 apprenticeships, with boroughs directly employing 1,772 apprentices, a 14 per cent increase on the previous year. This is almost three times the amount generated in 2016-17. 
Notes to Editors: 
1) The London Boroughs Apprenticeship Awards were held online from the 7th to the 14th September 2020 with winners announced at 12pm each day on London Councils Twitter and LinkedIn pages. For the full videos announcing winners please click here
2) Full details of the 2020 London Borough Apprenticeships Awards are below:
Apprentice of the Year: Joseph Huston-Mendy – London Borough of Islington
Best Contribution by a New Apprentice: Hayley Navarro – London Borough of Westminster
Best Progression by an Apprentice: Nazifa Chowdhury – London Borough of Croydon
Best Apprentice Working in the Supply Chain: Charlotte Hughes – London Borough of Islington
Best Manager or Mentor: Julia Cooke – London Borough of Camden
Best Work with Supply Chains and Local Businesses: London Borough of Croydon
Apprentice of the Year – Joseph Huston-Mendy (London Borough of Islington)
In response to Covid-19, Joseph has gone above and beyond his usual duties. He volunteered to be redeployed to the Islington Distribution Centre to provide deliveries to food banks and vulnerable people across the borough. Within two weeks, he was promoted to Logistics Manager and shortly after, he was promoted again. Joseph adapted quickly and alongside the coordination of the centre is responsible for all operational staff. His leadership has resulted in the effective and increased delivery of both emergency food parcels and surplus food deliveries during a time when these provided a lifeline for some residents of Islington.
Best Contribution by a New Apprentice – Hayley Navarro (London Borough of Westminster)
Hayley is integral to the administration of Connect Westminster. With team members seconded to the council’s COVID-19 response, Hayley has taken on more responsibility ensuring performance and delivery targets are met and compliance with project policies and procedures maintained.
Hayley is passionate about inclusion in the workplace. She is comfortable to challenge decisions that impede accessibility and wants to support the recruitment campaign so that through promotion, the council can access untapped talent and recruit a more diverse workforce.
Best Progression by an Apprentice – Nazifa Chowdhury (London Borough of Croydon)
Nazifa arrived at Croydon Council as a quiet 17-year-old and has developed into a confident and capable officer. She proactively carves out opportunities to speak directly to customers managing issues effectively and has challenged herself further by covering absences and managing her team on her own.  Nazifa has delivered extraordinary presentations to Cabinet Members, The Economic Summit and to the LGA gaining great feedback, particularly in relation to equality. She has also encouraged new apprentices to stay focused, work hard and navigate corporate protocols.
Best Apprentice Working in the Supply Chain – Charlotte Hughes (London Borough of Islington)
Charlotte is a young mother of three children who dreamed of a total career change. She wanted to better her life for herself but even more, for her children. With this dream in mind, Charlotte tried to find a pathway into construction to become a Project Manager, but when she was told that she didn’t have the required experience or qualifications to be considered, she returned to education. She then looked for a route way into the sector and found the Islington Council’s introductory construction course for women. Charlotte was offered a work experience placement where she excelled, being offered a Management apprenticeship at its conclusion. Charlotte’s successful path makes her a great ambassador for more women to enter the sector, both in terms of reassuring employers, but also as a role model for other young mothers. 
Best Manager or Mentor – Julia Cooke (London Borough of Camden)
Julia Cooke is an Organisational Development and Learning and Development Officer at Camden Council who has a pro-active, person-centred and empowering approach. She encourages apprentices to have the end goal in mind and stay focussed on three core things; completing the apprenticeship qualification, securing a permanent job and being successful. She develops individualised action plans with apprentices, working collaboratively with them to explore steps to achieve their goals. Julia adds ‘It’s about establishing what they want, what they must do, how I can help and identifying who else needs to get involved to bridge the gaps.’ 
Best Work with Supply Chains and Local Businesses to Create New Apprenticeships – London Borough of Croydon
Croydon Council, in partnership with training providers and employers across the borough, delivered the hugely successful 100in100 apprenticeship campaign. Under the award winning ‘Choose Your Future Campaign’, the 100in100 campaign was a programme of activities which delivered quality information and guidance to residents seeking to become apprentices and offered support to businesses looking to recruit. Businesses from across the borough pledged to create new and exciting apprenticeship opportunities for residents of all ages and background for 100 working days from 5th August to 20th December 2019.
Residents that benefited from the campaign included a 16 year school leaver enrolling on a junior content apprenticeship and paid the London Living Wage and a more experienced resident returning to work after having a family and taking on a leadership and management apprenticeship in a challenging role within the council chamber. 
3) For a detailed report on London Councils apprenticeship data please click here