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We're marking National Apprenticeship Week: meet Max and Heather

Published: 5 February 2020

Heather and Max Exeter City Council apprentices Heather Rowland and Max Murphy

We're marking National Apprenticeship Week by celebrating the success of our apprentices.

The City Council currently has 21 apprentices in a wide variety of roles, with three more expected shortly.

There are apprentices on 11 different courses, including Data Analyst Level 4, Senior Leader MBA Level 7, Horticulture Level 2 and many more.

During the week we will feature a number of our apprentices, and today is the turn of Max Murphy, from Legal, and Heather Rowland, from Procurement.

Name: Max Murphy, 20, Legal Department. I have just completed my Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship.

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I started this apprenticeship after finishing my A-levels in 2017 at Queen Elizabeths in Crediton. My first and only job prior to this apprenticeship was a Saturday job in Adams Home Hardware, Crediton, which it is hard to draw a comparison between a legal department and a hardware shop, although it did allow me to develop my skills in dealing with slightly agitated members of the public. Outside of work I enjoy all the usual things.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

The main reason I decided to do an apprenticeship was because university wasn’t very appealing to me and I felt an apprenticeship would be a much more effective route to take to pursue a career in law. I have also always favoured practical experience over traditional learning, therefore the ability to pair experience with academic learning was a great opportunity.

What's the most rewarding part of being an apprentice?

The most rewarding part of being an apprentice is that I am given the opportunities to be involved and assist with lots of different pieces of work, which I was not expecting prior to starting here as I thought I would be very limited in what I’d be working on.

This is rewarding as I am able to experience different areas of law relating to the various functions of the Council.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others and why?

I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to others as it has allowed me to gain valuable experience in a legal department as well as learning about the law.

I only had a general knowledge of the law and the legal profession prior to starting this apprenticeship, as I had never studied it before. Now after two years I have learnt and researched many aspects of the law and been able to experience both the Magistrates and County Court, the process of different property transactions and learn some of the law which surround these matters through the academic side of the apprenticeship.

As previously mentioned, I feel that the legal department at the Council has provided me with so many opportunities due to the huge variation in matters which are dealt with, for example in a day I could be drafting a licence for a pavement café by the Quay, then attending a court hearing for an anti-social behaviour case and then reading through old deeds to assist with the registration of land.

What's your best / most rewarding moment since your apprenticeship began?

I would say my most rewarding moment during my apprenticeship was passing my exams and coursework to complete my Level 3 Paralegal Apprenticeship. As part of this I had to build up a portfolio of redacted documents I’d worked on throughout my day to day role to show my ability to perform certain tasks.

I included a number of documents including licences, land registry documents, letters and reports on any research completed. Once this portfolio was prepared, I was able sit the three exams.  

Name: Heather Rowland, Procurement Department, Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I joined Exeter City Council in May 2019 as part of the newly formed Procurement Team, I previously worked in procurement for both the NHS and another local authority.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I have wanted to commence the CIPS qualification route for a few years and I’m excited to now have the opportunity too, the apprenticeship is well supported here and having the time to study and revise is invaluable.

What's the most rewarding part of being an apprentice?

The knowledge and skills gained from the workshops and lesson based activities are broadening and embedding my knowledge which enables me to feel more confident and fulfilled within my job role.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others and why?

Yes, apprenticeships are a great way to gain skills and knowledge and with a supportive employer it means they can complement my role at work and work well together.

What's your best / most rewarding moment since your apprenticeship began?

Apart from passing my first exam, being able to confidently provide effective advice and support to colleagues across various departments in securing effective contracts.


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