Apprenticeships … not just for starting out, for life

Apprenticeships … not just for starting out, for life

One of the North East’s largest housing associations, believe housing, knows the lifelong value of apprenticeships to both colleagues and the business.

Among its 640 colleagues, believe housing currently has 17 colleagues in a variety of roles studying apprenticeships at levels 2 to 7.

During National Apprenticeship Week 2024 it is shining a spotlight on four colleagues who have benefited from apprenticeships.

Shaun Temby

Horticultural and Estate Officer Shaun Temby said joining believe housing seven years ago was “almost lifesaving” as he went from seasonal, agency work to a fulltime job he loves, working outdoors in a great team.

And he found that a return to learning during his 30s, to complete a horticulture apprenticeship last year, gave him the knowledge and confidence he needs to seek a leadership role. He has since mentored other apprentices and covered a supervisory role.

Shaun said: “For a long time, I struggled to find a career. The nature of my job meant that no matter how hard I worked some places didn’t give more than seasonal work. So, when I came here and got the fulltime job it was almost lifesaving for me.

“I’ve got two children now and I’m getting married next year. I wouldn’t be able to do that without believe housing and the stability it’s given me.

“I feel appreciated here, and I’m at the position now where I just want to give my best to the company in any way possible that I can.”

Hannah Wilson

Emily Fullen and Hannah Wilson are both Assistant Project Surveyors­­ — studying construction in the built environment at Hartlepool College of Further Education one day a week and liaising with contractors, suppliers and customers for the rest of the week to ensure work in homes go smoothly.

Hannah joined believe housing six years ago as a Business Administration Apprentice and has moved around the organisation, expanding her knowledge and qualifications in various roles.

Hannah said: “This course really opened my eyes. I have learned a lot of practical skills I will be using in my day job.

“I have received real-life experience, working alongside experienced staff, and gained practical skills for my job, while studying towards a recognised qualification.”

Emily Fullen

Emily began as a Neighbourhood Officer in 2012 before joining the Assets Team.

“Two years ago, if you’d said to me that I’d be going back to college, I would have been like ‘no sorry, I can’t do that’. I didn’t think I’d start an apprenticeship at the age of 29, but it’s been really good,” Emily said.

“I started this role with absolutely no construction experience whatsoever, starting from the bottom and hardly knowing what a brick was or what it was made of.

“I definitely thought that apprenticeships were for tradespeople. I didn’t know there were so many different apprenticeships you could do, and I wish I had known that because I would have saved myself a whole student loan!”

Nattaya Malcolm

Apprentice Gas Fitter Nattaya Malcolm has been happily challenging the stereotype of a tradesperson since she joined believe housing in 2022.

Nattaya commented: “I just wanted to prove to people that anyone, especially a woman, could do it.

“When I go out to people’s houses, it can sometimes be obvious that they expect me to be a male trade, and they are quite surprised when they realise I am a female. This job is helping me to open people’s eyes.”

Kerry Rowell, Culture Manager at believe housing, said: “Apprenticeships continue to play a valuable role for believe housing, helping us to develop a workforce with future ready skills and support our people’s ambitions.

“An apprenticeship can be a route into believe housing, or a way for colleagues to adapt or progress in their role — expanding their skills, knowledge, and experience together and helping us ensure we have the right skills, at the right time to provide homes and services for our customers and communities.”

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