Rebekah Jones - Shropshire Council’s Internship Programme

I studied Criminal Justice at Glyndwr University and during my studies I developed an interest in the relationship between citizens and the state, particularly the role that service delivery has to play within society. In the current economic climate, and with changing social values, service delivery is an important factor that has the ability to create a more beneficial relationship between the government and society. I have been particularly interested in how the role of the state is changing within the public sector, and services now have to be innovative and cost effective. It was apparent to me that pursing a career in the public sector would provide valuable experience and would enable me to develop a practical understanding of policies and processes that are vital to meet the needs of families and communities. Whilst being able to work towards improving council services for the people of Shropshire, it’s a real pleasure to have a job where you can leave knowing that you are working towards positive change within the local community

When I found out about Shropshire Council’s Internship Programme I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to gain experience and insight into local government. The internship programme allowed me to develop and improve my employability skills such as communication, self-awareness and commercial awareness. This experience convinced me that I wanted to work in an environment where I could make a visible and tangible impact on individual’s lives. This prepared me for a role on Shropshire Council’s Future Leaders Programme, which was an opportunity to grasp my ambition while allowing and supporting my professional development.

The two year talent management programme for graduates gives recent graduates the opportunity to study towards qualifications, helping to enhance graduate development and build a portfolio of experience setting them up for the future. These qualifications are completed alongside a series of placements, which are challenging and enjoyable and can be within any sector of the council.  The placements will facilitate a understanding of the strategic, operational and frontline work that goes on in a local authority. Graduates are encouraged to push their professional and personal boundaries but are completely supported along the way. While on the scheme, you have regular contact with both the graduate scheme manager and placement manager, and the added support of a trained mentor as well a buddy from the previous graduate cohort. The support you receive while on the scheme is invaluable.

The Future Leaders Programme has enabled me to continue my role within the Family Solutions Programme which has been a fantastic opportunity seeing the significance and importance of the Troubled Families Programme. My role within the programme is to support the Area Director in mapping the current system, understanding what services and interventions are currently available, working with both internal and external stakeholders to improve outcomes for families in Shropshire. This is an exciting and challenging role as it involves working across a broad spectrum of areas, including adult and children’s services. The role gives me insight into different areas and allows me to gain experience in communication, marketing, project management, data sharing and protection and service redesign.

One of the main challenges I have faced so far in my placement has been trying to understand all the relevant processes and interactions within People services, particularly as I am trying to process map all the relevant processes and interactions a family may go through. I have tackled this by working collaboratively with colleagues to understand the nature of their service, making sure I capture all the relevant data and information.

The Future Leaders Scheme is varied and gives the opportunity to gain substantial work experience in different areas of local government outside of the assigned placements. This includes the graduate project in which we are currently rebranding Shropshire Council’s Young Professionals Network in order to learn and develop skills such as marketing, event planning and networking. The graduate project provides good experience as you are given the responsibility as a group to deliver a project with tangible outcomes. It also allows graduates to stay in contact with each other - the relationships you develop as a cohort should not be underestimated, as they allow you to develop as a group and learn from each other’s experiences.

I am enjoying my role within Shropshire Council’s Future Leaders Programme, as we are given a great deal of responsibility, exposure and visibility within the organisation through our involvement with high profile projects that impact the future of Shropshire. Being able to make a positive contribution to Shropshire’s community is a truly rewarding benefit of working as a graduate trainee in local government, and a career I would encourage other graduates to pursue.

In two years’ time, on completion of the programme, I want to have developed my managerial skills and gained confidence in working in a high level environment. I would also like the see the Family Solutions Programme become successful and reach its objectives.

Rebekah Jones
[email protected]

Section:

Shrop Grad Shrop Grad

Laura Herbert is the Graduate & Apprentice Manager for Shropshire Council and the manager of ShropGrad, the organisation’s Graduate Programme. Over the next few months, the graduates on the programme will be chronicling their progress, discussing key themes within graduate employment and offering advice and shadowing opportunities for local graduates.

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