You're Hired! Josh is Environmental Services Apprentice of the Year!

“Come on, we’re going to the library”

You're Hired! Josh is Environmental Services Apprentice of the Year!
Josh Podmore from Apley had just turned 19 when his mother, who had heard of Telford & Wrekin Council’s work in tackling youth unemployment, took him to Southwater library to help him find a job.

Josh, now 20, said: “I had applied for jobs but didn’t hear anything back, or was told I didn’t have the grades – and then you hit a pit – and I thought ‘what do I do now?’”. 

His visit to the library led to his going on an initial 12-week pre-apprentice introductory course called “Green Brigade”, followed by a year-long Cleansing and Environmental Services apprenticeship with the Council in conjunction with Telford and Wrekin Services, all of which he completed with flying colours; he was chosen as the most outstanding Green Brigade student and voted TCAT Environmental Services Apprentice of the Year .

The latter award was presented to Josh at a ceremony at Telford College of Arts and Technology on Thursday 7 July where he won the apprentice of the year award for his category.

The nomination read: “As an apprentice, Josh has shown exceptional qualities … he has fitted in well with an established team … demonstrating outstanding customer care and growing in confidence.”  

Josh said: “I had no idea it was coming until I got a letter in the post saying I got Apprentice of the Year for Environmental Services. It was fantastic to read because I was just being myself, just being me – and it turned out they really liked me. It was really overwhelming.”

The nomination was written by Phil Pritchard, group specialist for Neighbourhood Services at Telford & Wrekin Council.

Phil said: “Josh came through on a scheme called ‘Green Brigade’ which originally was a ‘Pride In Your Community’-funded scheme – and that was based on developing the skills of individuals; not just in practical grounds-maintenance-type skills, but also development in CV writing, applying for jobs, interview technique – that sort of thing. 

“It was about making someone employment-ready. In that scheme, Josh stood out. He was quiet, determined, was always ready to have a go and see if he could do the task that was put in front of him.”

Josh was involved in a variety of outdoor work and courses including introductions to brickwork, paving, fencing and using a chainsaw. 

In addition to his awards, he has secured a full-time job with Telford & Wrekin Services Ltd. as a gardener. He said the apprenticeship was well worth it.

Councillor Gilly Reynolds, cabinet member for education, employment and regeneration said: “Josh’s award is an endorsement of this Council’s scheme proving it is working to the best of its ability both for the individual and for the employer.”

Josh added: “The Green Brigade is aimed for people like me; out of work and not knowing what to do,” 
“I can’t recommend that enough because it’s an insight at least – and if you don’t like it, you can just leave. If you like it, stick it out. From having nothing and not knowing what I wanted to having a full-time job, a career and Apprentice of the Year, it’s brilliant!”