FENLANDER: Cleaning apprentices told by leader that morning on the bins was one of his ‘best days in local government’

A MORNING spent with Fenland District Council’s bin men ranks as one of the highlights of Councillor Alan Melton’s long career in local government, he said last week.

The FDC Leader was speaking after presenting 14 of the council’s Refuse and Street Cleansing team with Cleaning Apprenticeship certificates.

He told them: “My own main apprenticeship was a morning that our chief executive, Sandra Claxton, and I spent with you on your rounds. In 30 years in local government it’s one of the best days I’ve had. It was great.

“People like me get a lot of publicity but the people who really deliver are you guys, who go out every day in all sorts of weather. We’re all extremely grateful to you.”

Cllr Melton repeated his assurance that street cleansing and refuse collection would remain one of the council’s top priorities.

“Of course we’ve got to make cuts and savings but we are going to continue to invest in the service you provide for the simple reason that it’s good and you’re good,” he said.

In total, 23 members of the team have gained the apprenticeship qualification. The certificates were handed over last Tuesday, during National Apprenticeship Week.

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Paul Medd, FDC’s deputy chief executive, also praised the team’s hard work and dedication and underlined the council’s commitment to learning and skills development.

“You should be very proud of what you’ve achieved and we’re certainly very proud of you,” he said. “Training isn’t something we do just because it’s a nice thing to do; it has a very tangible benefit to the service you deliver.”

Over the past few years more than 400 NVQs and adult qualifications have been gained by FDC staff through a partnership with F1 Training Services.

Last month 32 staff members signed up to apprenticeships or advanced apprenticeships covering customer services, management and business and administration. More are being enrolled this month as the council continues its learning and skills development programme.

Last week’s presentation was attended by Matthew Fletcher from the National Apprenticeship Scheme, and F1 Training’s Glenn Forbes.

Mr Fletcher said: “People tend to think of apprenticeships as being something that’s just for 16-24 year olds. In fact, as these people’s achievements show, they’re for everyone.

“They offer an excellent way of improving and extending people’s skills and that is good not only for the individuals but also for their organisations.”

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