Mark Worth, EDDC’s Exchequer and Systems Manager in Financial Services
Mark Worth, EDDC’s Exchequer and Systems Manager in Financial Services

Asking for additional responsibilities or volunteering for new projects, which you wouldn’t normally be involved in, is key to climbing the career ladder.

This is the advice given by one long-serving member of staff at East Devon District Council (EDDC). EDDC is sharing the stories of its apprentices and their career journeys as part of National Careers’ Week (March 4th – 9th).

About Mark Worth:

Mark is EDDC’s Exchequer and Systems Manager in Financial Services, managing a team of five. He is responsible for all payments in and out of the council. Mark and his team process around 20,000 invoices each year, handle 350,000 transactions, and allocate up to £200million to various departments, excluding Treasury management, as outlined in the council’s budget.

Mark joined the council 17 years ago and asked to be placed on EDDC’s apprenticeship scheme in 2018. This allowed him to obtain a formal qualification that recognised the work he was carrying out. Mark now holds a level five in Operation and Departmental Management — a degree-level qualification.

He said: “I was asked about whether any of our new staff would be interested in the apprenticeship scheme – and I said, well, I would! Traditionally, people think it's only for new staff members, but if you don’t ask the question, you don’t get. It helped me gain more knowledge so I could do my job better and drive me forward, showing me how to work better.”

How did you get into the role?

“I went to Bicton College, met my partner and now wife, and moved to East Devon. When I was 18, I broke my neck playing Rugby and was paralyzed from the neck down for four or five months. I had to undergo total rehabilitation. You can hear more about my story in this four-part video:

“My hand was forced into reconsidering what I wanted to do for a living, so I took a job at EDDC as a cashier and payment officer and worked my way up. I also completed a level two in business admin with EDDC. Much of what I do is only possible because of the experience I have, however.

“My team and I need a lot of knowledge about other departments and what they do —understanding council tax, business rates, housing rental — all so we can allocate the budget correctly.”

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow your career path?

“You don’t need to know what you want to do straight away; it's about getting on the ladder, gaining experience, discovering what you enjoy, and developing as a person. Then assess where you want to go. The best opportunities sometimes surprise you.”

What advice would you give someone wanting to ensure they are ready for a promotion if one comes up?

“Think about what you want to do and how you can put your own stamp on things — how you can improve processes and make everyone’s lives easier. Assist them where you can.”

How to get the experience needed for the next step up when you can only get the experience you need by taking the next step up?

“Ask for additional responsibilities or projects or volunteer to assist with projects to gain that experience. Be a team player. And, if you see an opportunity like an apprenticeship for new starters, don’t hesitate to ask for it like I did.”

What’s the best piece of career advice someone has given you?

“If you can empower people to do a job, most of the time you will get a better result because they feel they own the problem or issue you have set for them. My advice is to delegate and trust your team.

“Your family and home life are crucial; always put that first. If you get that right, work works because you aren’t worrying about your home life.”