Spotlight On Public Sector Apprentice Talent

The Public Sector Apprenticeship Targets Regulations 2017 set a target for any public sector employer in England with at least 250 employees to employ an average of 2.3 per cent of their staff as new apprentice starts between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2021.


The legislation is already having the desired effect in local government. In 2017-2018, we saw around 46,000 bright new minds starting public sector apprenticeships and 20 per cent of these were in local government, accounting for 1.5 per cent of the UK's public sector workforce. To showcase some of the incredible talent emerging in the public sector, here we look at the joint-winners and another finalist of The Public Services People Managers Association (PPMA) Apprentice of The Year 2019 programme.ThePPMA is an a membership association for HR & OD professionals working across in public services. PPMA through its national network works to It is at the forefront of meeting unprecedented demands on our public service workforce due to political and economic change and strives to enhance, promote and raise the standards of people management and development within public services. It does this by focusing on four key objectives:


-      Developingand delivering talent management programmes for HR & OD professionals at all levels in their career

-      Delivering research and thought leadership aligned with 8 strategic branded ‘Let’s Talk’ themes 

-      Supporting a national and regional programme of events including an annual conference; and the annual Excellence in People Management Awards programme

-      Lobbying and working with key stakeholders to ensure that workforce related issues are at the heart of developing nad delivering public service policy.


“The Apprentice of the Year is our foundation programme and was created as an antidote to the often negative publicity about what is was like to work in the public sector and create an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the world class young talent that we have working in all areas of public service” said Leatham Green, Interim Executive Director of the PPMA.


“This year we experienced our strongest field to date with 16 fantastic finalists; so much talent radiated from the two days of coaching and competition at Warwick Business School on 7th – 8th March 2019, that our judging panel were unable to differentiate between two outstanding future leaders, Daniel John and Kirsten Moore. We were blown away by their individual talent and truly inspirational personal stories. On a whole, I can confidently say that many of the delegates we had the pleasure of working with at the final are destined for very successful careers”.


DANIEL JOHN – Joint-winner of the PPMA Apprentice of the Year 2019

Daniel John is a Participation Apprentice in the Children and Adults Health Department at South Gloucestershire Council. At the start of his apprenticeship, there was a period of time when John, who is autistic, found himself struggling and so to overcome his difficulties he created a presentation on autism to raise awareness of his own needs and the needs of autism in general. His exceptional work in enhancing awareness of autism in the workplace, which is now rolled out across the entire council, was one of the main reasons that South Gloucestershire Council encouraged John to apply for the award.

“I knew that from my experience as being a young facilitator for the charity Kids,I wanted to continue to work with young people and capture young people’s voices, which is why I applied for the apprenticeship in Children and Adult Health services” John explained.

Driven by the desire to help people and make a difference, John has found the attitudes of individuals working in the public sector to be extremely positive and supportive. “Development is at the heart of everything we do. As a public sector apprentice, you are given so many opportunities to learn and grow. There is also added flexibility in terms of how you want to do your job, where you aren’t drilled into doing things in a particular way, but rather use your own initiative,” he said.


KIRSTEN MOORE – Joint-winner of the PPMA Apprentice of the Year 2019

Kirsten Moore is a Business Administrator apprentice working as a Project Support Officer for the Stop Smoking Service at Central Bedfordshire Council. Moore has been in her apprenticeship for nine months and has been involved in several exciting projects which motivated her to apply for the award.

“Kirsten has surpassed all our expectations from the day she started with us and has become a very popular and important member of the team.  Kirsten’s work is always to a very high standard and we look forward to watching her continue to fulfil her potential.   Kirsten is definitely very worthy winner of the PPMA apprentice of the year award” said Martin Manly, Public Health Practitioner, Stop Smoking Service.

After withdrawing from university, it was completing a fundraising internship at the charity Child Bereavement UKwhere Moore decided she wanted to work in the public sector.

After leaving university, it was after a fundraising internship at the charity Child Bereavement UKwhere Moore decided she wanted to work in the public sector.

“The overarching aim to want to help others was a big motivator for applying for the public sector apprenticeship, rather than the sole goal being to turn a profit,” said Moore. “The team have been so welcoming and supportive of my learning and development. With the nature of an apprenticeship you are not moulded into an academic mindset with the same education and the same feelings, instead you are encouraged to be individual and use your own voice," she added. 


ROSE THOMSON – Finalist of the PPMA Apprentice of the Year 2019

Rose Thomson is an Associate Project Management Apprentice working as a Business Transformation Project Officer at the London Borough of Southwark Council. Her involvement in numerous transformation projects across a wide range of public services, one of which was high-profile, led Rose to apply for the award. 

‘Rose has excelled throughout her apprenticeship with Southwark. She has demonstrated a consistent desire to learn and improve, contributed effectively to a variety of projects and is highly regarded by her colleagues. All of us at Southwark were honoured to have Rose represent our Council at the PPMA.’ Gintare Geleziunaite Business Transformation Project Manager, Southwark Council

Thomson explained that her first experience in the public sector was in a three-month summer project at Brighton & Hove City Council. “It really opened my eyes to how much local government actually does for its community. I knew I wanted to be involved in making positive changes to people’s lives and not simply making profit for the rich man,” said Thomson.

Her apprenticeship has allowed her to attain the APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ)accredited by the Association for Project Managementalongside the PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification (PRojects IN Controlled Environments).

“My team have been really supportive and understanding when it comes to my studies” Thomson said. “Moreover, the direct link between the content of my studies and my project work has been very useful and they really encourage you to put your knowledge into practice,” she added.