“We didn’t want someone to come in and photocopy. We wanted someone to be the future of our homelessness and housing service at Telford & Wrekin Council.”
When Nicola Kennedy, the Council’s Family Intervention Specialist, met new apprentice-to-be Libby Ram, she knew she had found that future.
Uninspired by her work in a garden centre, the 22 year-old from Codsall near Wolverhampton left her old job and, after struggling to find new work, applied for two apprenticeships with the Council. She was successful in both applications and chose to work with the homelessness team.
Her work involved auditing rent accounts, sorting out rent arrears, minuting meetings and accompanying housing officers on visits to women’s refuge and gypsy and traveller sites.
Nicola, who by this time had become her new boss, said: “Libby was brilliant. She came in, she was very enthusiastic and very passionate about it. And she was committed too.”
Libby’s commitment to the cause extended to her spare time which she spent volunteering in a soup kitchen in Wolverhampton.
Nicola was so impressed she nominated Libby for the Telford College of Arts and Technology Business Administration Apprentice of the Year award. Her nomination read: “She demonstrated maturity, commitment, compassion, empathy, hunger to learn and a passion to make a difference to someone’s life, this enthusiasm has not faded during her time as a member of the team.”
Libby received her award at a ceremony on 7 July and, in a further surprise presentation, was also given the Citizenship Award for her volunteer work in the soup kitchen.
Libby has now secured a permanent job with the Council as a housing assistant working with disability grants. She said: “The apprenticeship was great. I’m 22 now. I knew I was ready for a job and I knew I had to go back to the beginning. It was a good stepping-stone. My plan now is to move-on-up in the Council.”
Councillor Gilly Reynolds, Cabinet member for Education, Employment and Regeneration, said: “This experience shows how valuable apprenticeships are. Libby was taken on as an apprentice within a housing service at the Council then, she went on to secure a permanent job with us, again related to housing. It’s a great result both for her and for the organisation.”