During National Apprenticeship Week, PCS union learning representative (ULR) in the Crown Prosecution Service, Jo Hutchinson, utilised money from the Apprentice Support Fund to hold a day to support apprentices.
With the aid of a grant from the Learning Events and Apprentice Support Fund Jo put on an Apprentice support day for all the apprentices in the Yorkshire and Humberside Area.
A full day of events was programmed and the grant from the union enabled Jo to buy a lunch and refreshments so that during the lunch break the apprentices could network and share ideas and offer support to each other.
Jo explained more about the day, saying: '
The Head of Business Centre attended and talked the Apprentices through the Skills and Behaviour Frameworks to assist them when it came to applying for jobs in the Civil Service.”
After this session they were asked to write an example of a behaviour which was assessed by her and feedback was given. This allowed me to get an Informal English outcome for each person who attended.''
After lunch, which found the apprentices discussing with each other how the apprenticeship was going and swapping ideas, there was a talk from the Inclusion and Community Engagement Manager.
She outlined the community engagement that CPS do and also talked about volunteering opportunities for CPS staff and the special leave policy which allowed them to take paid time off for volunteering. This enabled Jo to record a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) outcome.
Jo said: '
The next activity was a fun Maths challenge where we worked out the number of calories in a jar of sweets using pen and paper and not calculators. All the apprentices found this challenging but at the end they were allowed to eat the sweets and I recorded an Informal Maths outcome.”
Our final sessions were a talk by our Branch Secretary introducing PCS union to the apprentices, followed by a mindfulness session. When we had completed the mindfulness activity, I opened my eyes and was relieved to find that everyone was still in the room and had not left while I was meditating!''
Feedback from the event was very positive and there were a lot of comments from members about how useful they found the day.
Helen is Casework Assistant at CPS and said:
I really enjoyed the day, it was interesting, informative and nice to meet new people and learn more about the CPS”
Fellow Casework Assistants at CPS also expressed the benefits of the day.
Dan P said:
I found the mindfulness interactive and engaging and there was a good lunch!”
Whilst Josh added that:
It was really interesting finding out about new aspects of the CPS”,
and Dan O said it was a:
Thoroughly enjoyable day which has been beneficial for apprentices.”
If you are an apprentice, make sure you contact your local union branch to see what support is available. You can also download the free Apprenticeship Essentials app from unionlearn which is full of information and advice.