Foundations in place for a career in housing

A landmark collaboration between three independent housing associations is to create six life-changing apprenticeships in North Staffordshire.

Aspire Housing has joined forces with Epic Housing and Staffordshire Housing Association to help ensure a future supply of talented, qualified youngsters with the skills and know-how necessary to succeed in the social housing sector.

PM Training, a social enterprise that tackles worklessness among young people – and part of the Aspire Group – will deliver the programme. It is one of very few providers in the West Midlands able to offer the training framework.

Three customer service recruits will be selected from the 16-18 age group, and another three will be chosen from the 19-24 bracket for training as housing officers.

Will Nixon, chief executive of PM Training and director of regeneration at Aspire Housing, said: “This type of apprenticeship really is unique.

“It will benefit not only the six young people that are selected, but also the three housing associations involved in the programme.

“We are very keen to highlight housing as a career path because it doesn’t have the profile it should.”

He added: “Many jobs within the social housing sector are rewarding and help make a positive impact on people’s lives and the communities they live and work in.”

Each of the apprentices will complete placements with the three housing associations, gaining an in-depth understanding of how each of them operates.

“This training will ensure that they emerge with a detailed understanding of the housing sector,” said Will.

Neal Hopkins, Epic Housing’s head of business development, said: “Housing is a career that people tend to land in, rather than aspire to, and we plan to change that.

“It can be difficult to attract people of the right calibre into the sector but we believe that by taking this route we can lead people to the qualifications they will need in the future.

“If they complete their apprenticeships successfully they will emerge with an accredited qualification, and although we can’t guarantee it, the intention is that there should be a job waiting for them as well.”

Part of the training will be office based, but the recruits can also expect to deal with a range of problems from anti-social behaviour and rent arrears, to neighbour disputes and dealing with vulnerable people, said Mr Nixon.

Diane Lea, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Housing Association, said, “We are already supporting a range of apprenticeships and traineeships to improve opportunities for local people. We are delighted to expand this by joining forces with Aspire and Epic to give young people a chance to forge fulfilling careers.”

The recruitment process to find the six most promising candidates has started, find out more on the vacancies here

For more information contact Debbie Lightfoot at PM Training on 01782 279 121.

Published: 19 May 2010