Caitlin, Graduate Project Officer
I joined the Suffolk Partnership Graduate Scheme in 2019, after completing a BSc (Hons) Geography (Human Geography) degree at the University of Northampton. I was motivated to apply for the scheme as I had previously been a summer intern at East Suffolk Council in Economic Development, and really enjoyed the experience of working for Local Government. Otherwise, I did not have a clear idea of where I would like my career to progress.
Over the two-year programme as a Graduate Project Officer, I completed three different placements, in Corporate Policy and Customer Services and Transformation at West Suffolk Council, and Children and Young People Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub at Suffolk County Council.
I was able to make a significant impact with the work and projects I was involved in, and range from project support for a Rural Taskforce, reviewing the council’s equality scheme, implementing new process procedures for the Customer Services team, and analysing service demand patterns.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was also redeployed to support the Business Grants Team, to ensure businesses of West Suffolk could be financially supported during the difficult time. This provided a great sense of job satisfaction, receiving a huge amount of appreciation for the support offered by the team and the ability to ensure local businesses could be sustained.
We were required to revert to home working mid-way through the programme, however I was fully supported virtually and had great communication links across the entire council.
Alongside this, I have completed a Level 4 Apprenticeship in Improvement Practitioner, in which I learnt about areas of organisational change, Lean and Six Sigma principles and project management. I was given the opportunity to implement my learning into the workplace, resulting in resource and cost savings for the council.
After completing the scheme, I decided I would like to continue working within the public sector and I was elated to accept a Researcher position at Norfolk Constabulary. The breadth of the scheme allowed me to explore different career options and discover what I most enjoyed doing in the workplace.
The overall experience of the scheme has been extremely beneficial, I have made so many networking connections and friends among the other graduates. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities given to me at West Suffolk Council, and I would recommend to any graduate to apply for future cohorts.