Keep updated on Built Environment industry insights and thoughts from UCEM Principal: Ashley Wheaton.
Our apprenticeship partners: Q&A with Zoe Bacon from the Cabinet Office
Posted on: 8 June, 2021
Zoe is the Property Apprenticeship Officer for the Cabinet Office. Prior to that Zoe worked in recruitment in HMRC. She’s been working alongside us for 18 months, so we thought it was time to catch up with her to ask her about her role, apprenticeships and why she loves her job.
Hi Zoe! First, can you tell us a little bit about you and what your job is?
I work across all government departments, from Homes England to DWP, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to the Valuation Office, Department of Education to the Ministry of Justice. I like to think that my relationship with them is one of mutual respect and support. I’m here to help with building pipelines of talented diverse people ready to start their property career; to provide guidance and advice regarding the needed infrastructure to support their apprentices and help train their apprentice’s managers, mentors etc., so they and their apprentices get the most out of their apprenticeship programmes.
How did you come across UCEM?
I was introduced to UCEM when I first started in this role, as many of our government surveying apprentices study with UCEM. I think I have a very open and effective working relationship with UCEM. We have regular meetings where we meet to discuss what is happening with our apprentices across government, working together to address any issues and concerns. I’ve learned a lot from our meetings, building my knowledge of the apprenticeship which makes me more effective in my role.
That’s great to hear. How has the learning side of the apprenticeships been for your apprentices?
Each of our apprentices studying with UCEM has an apprenticeship outcomes officer (AOO) who is there to support the apprentices through their programme with both their personal and career progression, as well as the completion of the apprenticeship. The AOO also provides pastoral care as well when needed. On top of that, UCEM also has a disability and wellbeing team that provides support to those apprentices that require it, supporting apprentices with disabilities, learning difficulties, health conditions etc. UCEM have found that some apprentices may sometimes realise when they are studying at degree level that they may be dyslexic, and UCEM’s wellbeing team is there to support and help those apprentices through their programme.
What is it about apprenticeships that work so well within government?
We recognise that apprenticeships are a great, effective way of recruiting and growing a talented pool of diverse people in the government property profession. Apprentices bring energy, new ideas, and enthusiasm, and they help future-proof our workforce, so we’re building our talent and capability from within. We are committed to building our apprenticeship numbers as well as supporting our apprentices to have the best apprenticeship experience possible; so they want to stay and progress their career within government at the end of their programme.
Finally, what is the best thing about your job?
Working with the apprentices. Our apprentices are talented, enthusiastic people, ranging from school leavers to people using the apprenticeship to retrain in a new career. They bring a drive and passion to their job as well as a fresh way of looking at the work. It is a privilege supporting them during their apprenticeship and easily the favourite part of my job.