Case study - Lewis Mills

I first found out about the apprenticeship for which I would eventually apply from an Employer Advisor while completing some work experience at the Job Centre in Grays. I had been unemployed for around 6 months and was looking for ways to boost my CV.

My 6-week work experience placement in an office had opened my eyes to a whole new world and was very different to anything I had done before – I'd previously worked at McDonalds for a year after leaving college. It convinced me to "go for it" when I saw the level 2 Marketing apprenticeship at Thurrock Council, even though I had no previous experience and no relevant qualifications.

Proving my potential

I'm so glad I took the chance. They clearly saw potential in me as I was successful and started work as the Regeneration Apprentice in the Economic Development Team. It sounded very professional, being focused around business, and I could envisage a career at the end of the tunnel instead of a dead end. Little did I know that working in Economic Development would lead me to cover such a vast range of duties and meet so many different people.

I've had the chance to work with many individuals and organisations, ranging from local self-employed businesses to chief executives, to mayors from foreign countries – and not forgetting some of the most amazing community groups around Grays!

Amazing opportunities

My job was never boring. I worked primarily on social media at first. Being in the pretty unique position of managing a social media account, I had the freedom to experiment with my creative side. Now that I've been with Thurrock Council for nearly 3 years, my duties have expanded and I've been able to work on some amazing projects.

At the end of my marketing apprenticeship, I was still eager to learn and undertook a level 3 apprenticeship in Business Administration. Whilst I was studying for this, I was lucky enough to secure a Project Officer role. This opportunity has been amazing and has given me so much experience that will help me in the future.

Bright future

I'm most proud of the work I've done, and continue to do, on the "Love Grays" project – the public brand of the Grays Town Management Partnership (GTMP), a collection of local businesses brought together to help improve Grays. I'm passionate about the work I do within the local community, putting on events such as the Grays Christmas Lights Switch-on, Grays in Bloom and the Open Air Cinema. Hosting these events and being able to effect real change in an area that is close to my heart gives me a sense of achievement that I never thought I'd get when I first applied for the job.

I'd hoped my apprenticeship would lead to a meaningful career, but my time at Thurrock Council has far exceeded my expectations. I plan to stay with Thurrock Council in the future, maybe in the same team that I've grown to love, or possibly branching out into new territory – who knows? My apprenticeship has given me a bright future and I intend to take on more responsibility and progress into a management role someday.

Would I recommend an apprenticeship? You bet I would!