One off bursary puts nicola’s foot on the career ladder

A Stoke-on-Trent teenager is working her way up the property career ladder thanks to financial support from a local charity.

Nicola HudsonThe Realise Foundation, part of the Aspire Group, a leading social housing enterprise – has fully funded a two year apprenticeship for Nicola Hudson.

The 18-year-old has been placed with Hanley chartered surveyors Daniel & Hulme for the practical element of her NVQ Level 2 course in Business Administration.

“I’m very pleased and impressed with what she’s doing for us,” says agency owner Richard Day, a prominent member of the influential Stoke-on-Trent City Partnership.

“Nicola is a quick learner and she picked up the threads of what was required of her very quickly. She is already playing a valuable role in the business.

“Her contribution to the installation of our new computer system – transferring data from the old system to the new – was extremely useful.”

Said Nicola: “I really enjoy what I’m doing and would recommend this to anyone.”

The teenager, who had previously considered a career in sport, was studying PE, Travel & Tourism, and Psychology at college before realising that further education wasn’t for her.

“I was at college for 18 months and wasn’t enjoying it, so I left,” said Nicola.

“When I went to PM Training the atmosphere was completely different. It was really enjoyable.”

PM Training, a social enterprise that tackles worklessness among young people, is another part of the Aspire Group. It specialises in finding training opportunities and apprenticeships for teenagers across the region.

Nicola now spends her days meeting and greeting clients, discussing property issues on the phone, and inputting data.

“She’s been here since May, and the whole experience has been very productive,” added Richard.

The Realise Foundation is Aspire’s charitable arm. An endowment fund of £325,000 has been created to provide bursaries for learning. Normal bursaries are for £1,000, but for Nicola a special dispensation was made to fully fund her apprenticeship at a cost of £5,000.

Will Nixon, Chief Executive of PM Training, said: “We were hoping that Daniel and Hulme would take an apprentice from us, but they were unable to do so originally, because of the economic climate.

“It was then that we thought to seek funding from the Realise Foundation, and the charity approved the application.

“Nicola will spend 12 months on the course which we hope will result in an NVQ.”

Nicola, who lives in West Coyney, added: “It’s great to get the chance to earn money at the same time as working for a qualification.”