A talented group of young people have graduated from Suffolk County Council’s first ever internship programme after 12 weeks of hard work and dedication.
The programme, which was launched by Suffolk County Council in March 2013 and is run in collaboration with other district and borough councils in Suffolk, is aimed at recent graduates and local students currently at university.
It provides young people with an opportunity to work during their summer break and tackle challenging projects to boost their job prospects after university.
As part of Raising the Bar initiative, the programme seeks to provide high quality work experience opportunities, with a view to improving employability skills and attracting young people to stay and work in the county.
This in turn will impact on attainment and aspiration levels in Suffolk.
Projects are designed to cover key skills in the workplace including meeting deadlines, working to objectives, prioritising, delivering results, working independently and being part of a team.
Currently, only four per cent of people employed by Suffolk County Council are between 16 and 24, with 56 per cent of employees over the age of 45.
The county council developed the programme to expose young people to the wealth of career opportunities available in local government and to support them in the transition to work.
In the first year of the programme’s existence, there have been over 100 expressions of interest which resulted in 14 placements across the county council, in areas such as public health, resource management and economy and skills.
Councillor Mark Bee, leader of Suffolk County Council, officially opened the ceremony, congratulating all involved in the scheme, whilst Deborah Cadman, chief executive of Suffolk County Council presented graduates with certificates of reference.
Councillor Bee said; “I would like to congratulate all those that have been working for us during the intern programme this summer.
“They have brought fresh ideas and new insights which have really added value to our workplace.
“We will be staying in touch with our interns and hope that they will think about coming back to work for us in the future.
“I hope that their time with us will have opened their eyes to the wealth of career opportunities that are available in the public sector, and in Suffolk as a thriving county town.
“We want the achievement of children and young people to become a real, lived priority for Suffolk, and for members of the Suffolk community to become champions for attainment in our county.
“Through programmes like this, I am confident we will continue to improve and excel.”
Sarah James-Ford, 20, currently studying English Language and Linguistics at the University of Kent, said: “The past 12 weeks have been invaluable to me.
“Not only were we able to get a real sense of what it was like to work full time in such a large organisation, but we were also able to meet the senior leadership team and get solid career advice for our next steps after university.
“I would encourage anybody living in Suffolk to get in touch and register their interest for next year’s internship programme.”
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (September 5) Echo.