Apprentices build their careers in housing

A group of apprentices have made excellent progress in the housing sector, thanks to a collaboration between the Aspire Group and Staffordshire Housing Association. The pioneering programme is the first of its kind in the West Midlands.

Last year six people under the age of 24 were chosen from dozens of applicants for a foundation course being delivered by PM Training, part of Enterprising Futures, the social enterprise arm of the Aspire Group. The life-changing opportunity came as the government underlined its pledge to meet the high demand for social housing in the UK.

The programme began in August 2010 with four apprentices at Aspire and two at Staffordshire Housing. The areas of work that the apprentices focused on included letting properties, tenancy management, and tackling anti-social behaviour.

One of the apprentices, Stephanie Wheeler, 19, has already gained full time employment with Aspire as a lettings assistant.

Stephanie said: “I’m so glad to have got on the programme as it has led to me getting a full time job with Aspire which I’m really enjoying.”

The other Aspire apprentices, Abbi Hopkinson, 18, Charlotte Heath, 21, and Nicola Morgan, 22, have all successfully completed the first year of their apprenticeships.

The two Staffordshire Housing apprentices are Lauren Upton, 22, and Alyshia Vernon, 20. Lauren is working as a housing apprentice, gaining experience in reception duties, general administration and signing up new tenants.

Alyshia is working as a customer services apprentice and has just started her housing NVQ. She said: “I’m so glad I was successful in getting this apprenticeship. I have learnt so much in a short time and I also get to put it into practice in a real working environment. Working at Staffordshire Housing Association is a fantastic experience.”

Will Nixon, Chief Executive of Enterprising Futures, said: “I’m delighted to see how the apprentices have really settled in to the housing sector, where the need for good quality housing and services remains as critical as ever.”

Barry Pitts, business development director with Staffordshire Housing Association added: “It is great to give younger people an opportunity to learn and develop new skills. We are providing apprentices with a ‘real life’ work experience whilst working towards a recognised qualification. By investing in these people we are developing home grown housing professionals of the future.”