When Helen met Clive – the value of training our staff

PSG are part of Shropshire Council who place great value in developing staff to ensure they are able to their jobs to the best of their ability, are able to progress professionally and feel supported. We are taking full advantage of these opportunities with several members of staff in the team upskilling through apprenticeships. Helen Hale, who is our business support manager, is currently completing her apprenticeship in digital marketing, and this month, met with Council Chief Executive, Clive Wright, who was eager to learn more of her experience and the role of PSG. Now we go over to Helen…

I told Clive about the qualification I’m working towards which is my Level 3 qualification in digital marketing. I’m always looking to develop and challenge myself, and I thought this course would enable me to develop new skills that would help the team and the way we support and communicate with our customers.

Clive was interested to learn more about my role in PSG and how my apprenticeship is helping me develop. I gladly explained: “I manage the business support team of PSG. We provide an essential helpdesk service for our clients ensuring all buildings are maintained and remain open. We also work for the fire service, housing associations and other partners. We have building, electrical and mechanical surveyors, engineers, architectural technologists, clerk of works and quantity surveyors, so it really is a one-stop shop for all property-related matters. It is an extremely busy office and no one day is the same, and I love it.” I then explained how my apprenticeship is supporting my role: “My apprenticeship has helped me develop the marketing side of my role within PSG. I’m lucky that I love my job and we developed a great team culture of the last few years. We have spent a lot of time looking at improving and streamlining our services and developing our business model.”

I went on to explain to Clive that it is not always easy to balance work with my apprenticeship, but I always have the support of my manager which is invaluable: “I have found it difficult to fit in at times, especially during busy periods, but I have had to discipline myself and put time aside to complete modules. I find working from home a great help as it removes every day distractions. My manager is fully supportive too, which really helps.

I love my job and Clive was keen to know if the apprenticeship is meeting is my expectations: “So far yes; the facilitator from Learn to Play Foundation based in Wolverhampton is very quick to give feedback on my modules and is available for advice whenever I need it. I am actually ahead of time because of the quick turnaround.”

“We were recently invited over to their offices to create marketing material using Photoshop. It was a great day and two of their own staff gave up their time to train us on the software. They have offered to have us back for more training should we need it, which is great!”

As the conversation freely continued, Clive was keen to know what else my digital marketing apprenticeship involves. I explained: “I meet Andy here at Shirehall and we go through completed work and set my next objectives which makes it easier for me to go away and schedule time in my diary to research and complete the module before our next meeting. I send my work off to Andy with relevant information and he provides feedback and signs it off, so logistically it works really well.”

Clive recognised the importance of training staff to enable us to be the best we can be, and asked if I’d recommend an apprenticeship with Shropshire Council to other staff. “I would; it’s a no brainer! It’s really easy to apply – HR actually found my course and are really helpful. It benefits not only the apprentice, but their team and the council in general. In fact two members of my team are currently undertaking business administration qualifications.