Karla, Programme Management Office Officer

Karla tells us about her career journey into her current role as Highways Programme Management Office Officer.

Please can you introduce yourself?

My name is Karla and I joined West Sussex County Council in January 2021 as a Business Administration Apprentice in Highways, Transport and Planning. To date I have been given ample opportunity to progress and develop my skill set.

Could you give us a timeline of your roles since joining the council, dates you started in those roles?

As I mentioned, I started in January 2021 as a Business Administration Apprentice in Planning Services in July 2021. I took on the role of Highways Programme Management Office Technician alongside my apprenticeship and then in December 2022, I progressed into my current role as Highways Programme Management Office Officer.

Please can you tell us a little about your apprenticeship journey? For example, what qualifications did you have when you started/worked towards?

I graduated with a law degree from the University of Brighton in 2006 and my skill set and qualifications had become dated and in need of refreshing. As a result of a knee injury and having been running my own successful cleaning business, I needed to pursue alternative work. I saw the Business Admin role advertised and thought it would be a really good opportunity to refresh my skill set and qualifications.

I completed my Business Admin apprenticeship in August 2022, obtaining a distinction, and am now registered to begin a Project Management degree in September 2023.

Could you tell us about training and development opportunities you’ve had? - including mentoring/coaching and managers support.

I have been provided with ample opportunity in terms of being able to develop. I have completed Foundation P30, Mental Health First Aid training, Carbon Literacy training and Fundamental Project Management training. All of which have been really interesting and useful. There have been a number of courses that I have also been able to complete from the WSCC Learning and Development Portal.

What support have you been given by WSCC?

I have been assigned a ‘Buddy’ as well as a Mentor, which has been incredibly useful, as they were able to offer support in a number of areas, as well as fill gaps in experience and/or evidence in terms of being able to successfully complete my Business Administration apprenticeship.

What initially attracted you to West Sussex and what has made you stay?

I really liked the apprenticeship, particularly the opportunity to refresh my skills whilst also obtaining a qualification and practical experience, as well as earning a salary. The support available has been incredible and I can genuinely see how much I have flourished in a relatively short period of time. The work life balance side of things is also attractive and appealing, and the flexibility works for me as a busy working Mum.

What has been your favourite part of your journey so far?

Winning Local Government Apprentice of the Year 2021 has to be my most favourite so far, although there are a number. Being able to compete in the awards gave me the confidence boost that I desperately needed and has also highlighted to me my capabilities.

Where do you see yourself going next?

As I already mentioned, I am signed up to commence a Project Management degree in September 2023 and I really hope and envisage that this will lead to me managing a number of projects here at WSCC, as this is an area in which I would particularly like to build my skills and experience in.

If you could say something to anyone considering joining us, what would it be?

Go for it, you will never look back. You will be surrounded by a solid support network and will be provided with so many opportunities to learn and develop that you will undoubtedly have a very satisfying and rewarding career ahead.

Last updated:
9 June 2023
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