Della, Families and Communities

What is your role?Della Rayner Photo

I started with the council as an apprentice in the legal team however didn’t feel this was the right fit for what I wanted to do so moved to the Families and Communities team.

When did you start here?

I started in September 2019, but moved to my current role in January 2020 and am due to complete my apprenticeship in April 2021.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

I chose to do an apprenticeship because I didn’t feel university was the right path for me at this moment, doing an apprenticeship would allow me to get real experience in the workplace while earning more qualifications.

Did you come with GCSEs or A levels?

I came to the council with nine GCSE’s including English and Maths and a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Graphic Design.

Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do?

I have always been interested in a wide range of different things so I didn’t have a clear plan with what I wanted to do, I chose a paralegal apprenticeship to begin with however realised this wasn’t what I wanted to do. After talking to HR and discussing what I wanted out of a job they then helped me get an apprenticeship with the Families and Communities team, I quickly realised this was something I was meant to do as I loved it so much.

Why did you decide to work here?

Because when I mentioned it to my family, they encouraged me to go for it as working in local government is a really supportive workplace, that they treat their staff well and that there is a lot of opportunities.

What did you know about the council before you joined and what have you learnt about it so far?

Before I joined West Suffolk all I really knew was the basic services a council provided, I didn’t even know the Families and Communities team existed! From joining the council, I have learnt so much about the internal workings of the council, all the ways they help the community and the process behind making the important decisions.

What apprenticeship are you undertaking, and do you have future plans?

I am doing a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business Administration with the Families and Communities team. I am not sure exactly what I would like to go on to do, I would love to get a role as a Families and Communities Officer possibly specialising in young people or arts and heritage. If I was not able to get a role in the team, I would like to look into working in the voluntary and charitable sector especially with Suffolk Mind as I think the work they do is amazing.

What do you enjoy about working here?

I really like the team I work in and the huge variety of experience and coaching I get within the team. I think the mentoring system was beneficial and has helped me so much in my development in the council. I also really enjoy being able to get involved in elections, it was such an experience being involved in the count for the general election.

Apart from your apprenticeship, have you had other opportunities to learn and develop, job-shadow or to be involved in different projects?

I have been lucky to have so many opportunities at the council from apprentice trips to the Houses of Parliament with Unison to being trusted in organising big projects within my team. I really like being able to be out in the community in my role and it makes me so happy being able to work on such a variety of projects from The Women’s Tour of Britain and creating community art murals to Crucial Crew and teaching about County Lines.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

The advice I would give is to research as much as you can into the council and the job role you are applying for before you go to interview. This is what I did, and it made the interview so much calmer and easier as I was certain I knew what I was going to talk about and questions I wanted to ask at the end. Also, to remember an apprenticeship is all about growth and learning, you aren’t immediately going to know how to do everything you just need to ask questions and learn from your mistakes as this is the best way to learn.