Ann Williams is a principal administration officer at South Tyneside Council.
I first joined South Tyneside Council as a clerical trainee, after being appointed through the clerical pool, which at the time had annual intakes. I then spent a year working at various placements within the council, which gave me some great experience, and helped me realise what areas of work I’d like to be more involved in.
After this first year I applied for positions in public administration as I enjoyed the variety of the work, and I was able to progress my career by moving between various departments, and this has helped me to gain several promotions.
I was really keen to progress up the managerial ladder and my employers supported me to undertake an ONC in Public Administration, which I found really interesting and which ultimately enabled me to gain the principal officer position in HR/payrollI I now hold, which involves looking after a team of administrators and I really enjoy the extra responsibility.
While I haven’t as yet progressed onto the degree in public administration, I certainly found the ONC to be relevant in securing my current job, as it gave me a good understanding of some of the issues and factors I have to consider as part of my job. While you can get a job in local authorities at any level, I’ve personally found it really useful to be able to start at the bottom and work my way up!
A typical day involves dealing with various administrative duties for the schools in the borough. My role is developing all the time, but I find this helps keep my job so varied and interesting, it seems like no two days are the same. Indeed we are currently awaiting a new structure, so everything could be changing again soon.
There are plenty of aspects of my job that I enjoy, conditions of service for example are always changing so it can be quite challenging, but I really enjoy it, and there is a lot of job satisfaction from head teachers and schools.
My advice for anyone interested in the profession is to make the most of any opportunities to move around, whether it is placements if you’re on a training programme, or even just moving between jobs. Local authorities are large organisations, and have many different departments, but you’ll find there will be a field of work that will really interest you, you may just have to experience lots to find it.
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