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Business Assistant Career Profile

Written by: Fiona Narburgh
Published on: 10 Feb 2021

Ella SmithMeet Ella, an everyday hero working as a Corporate Business Assistant at Stafford Borough Council.

Below Ella has shared her story to show what a career as a Business Assistant is like and her journey since she started as an apprentice.

What's your role in a nutshell?
I’m working to support residents through various community initiatives such as grants to community and sports groups, community safety and safeguarding work, equalities and implementing actions from the council wide plan. I get involved with lots of things from answering calls, finance to doing the administration for the team. During the early stages of pandemic I was the co-ordinator for the shopping delivery service too, that’s now been taken on directly by the Co-op. Usually I organise two of the Council’s events; since the pandemic these events have had to be organised virtually such as the Community Awards held in November 2020.

Currently I am contacting clinically extremely vulnerable people in our community with another colleague. We phone these residents to make sure they have everything they need in terms of food, prescriptions and support.

Was this a planned career or one you fell into?
A bit of both. When I was at sixth form college doing my A levels I asked to do my work experience at the local council. I really loved it so when I saw there was an Apprenticeship position on offer I jumped at the chance and couldn’t believe I got the job. It was temporary to start with, then the contract was extended, now I’m permanent. I was 16 when I started here and I’m 22 now, having already been promoted a couple of times.

Are you a doer, manager or leader?
Definitely a doer. When I was co-ordinating the shopping delivery service for our more vulnerable residents - those that couldn’t get out and also couldn’t do a shop online - I worked out all the logistics, the rota and timings. I’m really hands on when organising the Community Awards too, I really enjoy all the tasks involved and no two years have been the same.

What do you love best & love least about your job?
I really love the people I work with; they are supportive, interesting and dedicated. I also love that no two days are the same, I get lots of variety.

What I love least is speaking in public; thankfully there’s been less of that during the pandemic, but I’m not great at putting myself out there in front of an audience. It’s an area I want to improve and will book on some training at some point to help.

Do you need: Qualifications? University or apprenticeship or special skills? 
I’ve done three NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) courses in business administration and events management since I finished my Apprenticeship.

Special skills needed to do my job are all about being really organised and adaptable. Getting on well with people and juggling all the elements when managing a project are also essential skills to do my job well.

Routine or variety?
More variety than routine. In a ‘typical’ week I can get involved with budgets, anti social behaviour, public space protection orders, community and sport grants and support for extremely vulnerable people. Every one of the phone calls I’ve been making to these residents is different. Some might need help with getting their shopping in, or collecting a prescription, others don’t know about the phone ordering services that many supermarkets are now providing, or that they can get priority delivery help. They appreciate us making the time to call and check how they are doing.

Pay check, calling or other benefits?
All three! I really love supporting the community in my role doing a worthwhile job. I love working on the Community Awards that recognise community volunteers.

I’ve been really supported here. The stable salary means I’ve been able to buy my first house with my fiancé. There are lots of other benefits too, from the pension, to health and wellbeing benefits and flexible hours too.

Is there development support available or is it DIY?
As well as my NVQs I’ve had lots of training and development on topics such as safeguarding, first aid, equalities and GDPR (all about our use of personal data). It’s all moved online at this time while we’re homeworking.

Staying put or moving on?
Keen to stay, I’ve not long got the house! There’s plenty to keep me busy and developing. I’ve already been promoted. Initiative and hard work are recognised here. There’s lots more I can get my teeth into.

Can you share a life lesson or specific career advice?
Try anything. Don’t be scared. Give all jobs a go.

And finally, the best thing about working for the council is…there is always support for any personal or family matters. Indeed it really feels like a family here.

Ella, is an #EverydayHero, working to change and make better the lives of others.

You can be an #EverydayHero too, click here to find roles currently available within business support.

Click here to read about more of our #EverydayHeroes