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National Apprenticeship Week 2019: the housing sector celebrates its apprentices

Housing associations are celebrating their apprentices as the sector marks National Apprenticeship Week 2019.

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Housing associations and social landlords have been sharing their stories of apprentices for #NAW19 #ukhousing

Read the stories of apprentices in the social housing sector – with ages ranging from 18 to 60 #NAW19 #ukhousing

It's National Apprenticeship Week and the housing sector is celebrating the apprentices starting their career journeys #NAW19 #ukhousing

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, a government initiative designed to mark the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.


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The housing sector has been sharing stories of the way apprenticeships have shaped its businesses. A selection of their stories are below:



A group of tradesmen have started their first apprenticeship at L&Q at an age when most people are thinking about retiring.

Steven Roach, 60, Stephen Shortte, 58 and Peter Beardall, 55 (pictured) are all maintenance technicians with L&Q, and have been offered the opportunity to gain qualifications with apprenticeship partner, Barking & Dagenham College.

A new construction and maintenance skills centre at the college launches today.

Mr Beardall said: “I think everyone should give it a go. You are never too old to learn new things, and it can only be beneficial.”

This year’s group of students has an average age of 45, after the housing association, which manages over 2,000 properties in the area, encouraged older employees to consider apprenticeships.

John Lewis, sales director apprenticeships at Barking & Dagenham College, said: “This year alone, 143 of the apprentices we are training – nearly a quarter of them – are aged over 25, which is brilliant. After all, with people having to work for longer before they can retire, being able to get an apprenticeship and start a new career at any age is a great option.”

In 2017, the government scrapped the age limit of 24 for apprentices, which means companies can now use their training funds to upskill their existing workforce.

Wheatley Group

Wheatley Group

Scottish housing association Wheatley Group has pledged to recruit 31 young people for its Modern Apprenticeship programme this year.

There are 25 business administration and six environmental apprenticeships up for grabs for people aged between 16 and 19. Successful candidates for the two-year business apprenticeships will get on-the-job training in departments such as housing offices, finance, legal and development.

Environmental apprentices will work with Wheatley’s neighbourhood environmental teams, keeping communities clean across the central belt.

Over the past nine years, Wheatley – which includes GHA, Dunedin Canmore, Cube, Loretto Housing, WLHP, Barony and YourPlace – has taken on 384 apprentices.

Nicole Tait, 20 (pictured), a GHA tenant from Barmulloch in Glasgow, is in the second year of her apprenticeship. She said: “I never thought I would have been interested in working in housing. Before I started my apprenticeship, I was studying beauty at college but I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

“An apprenticeship means you’re getting paid and learning at the same time.”

Your Homes Newcastle

Your Homes Newcastle

Your Homes Newcastle’s (YHN) latest apprentice recruits officially started their new roles on the first day of National Apprentice Week, in a range of posts including marketing, construction and gardening.

Bethany Marr, 19 (pictured), is already doing a gardening apprenticeship with YHN. She said: “I saw an advert for the YHN apprenticeships on my Facebook page and decided to apply. I have a young son and had been caring for him since leaving school, which meant I was claiming Universal Credit and I didn’t want to continue doing that – I wanted to work for my money and provide a better life for me and him.

“I was already doing my mam’s garden for her as well as my nana’s and I really enjoyed that sort of activity, but I had no idea YHN had those sorts of roles until I was offered one.”

YHN also helped her to gain additional qualifications, including paying for 10 driving lessons and she has achieved her Horticulture NVQ Level 2 through a local college.

The organisation’s apprenticeship programme has run successfully for more than seven years, with 90% of those who have completed it progressing to paid work or further training

Midland Heart

Midland Heart

Born in Wolverhampton but raised in London, Terri McDonald (pictured) was looking to move back to the West Midlands to be closer to her family, but was also keen for a career change. She said: “I

was working as a legal disrepair surveyor, which was quite different to the role I do now. When I saw this role, I thought it looked so fun!

“I had heard about Midland Heart and seen signposts on buildings across the area where I lived, and I had previously worked for a local authority so I knew quite a bit about the housing association.”

She secured a role with the company’s development team as an apprentice project manager and is now developing new affordable homes on sites across the Midlands region.

“I took a massive pay cut to do it but knew it wouldn’t be forever and that I would come out with valuable experience,” she explains. “Never in a million years did I think eight months into my apprenticeship I would be offered a permanent role!”

Hightown Housing Association

Hightown Housing Association

Levi Pierre (pictured), who lives in Hemel Hempstead, spends four days a week at Hightown Housing Association as a property maintenance apprentice and one day a week studying at West Herts College for his property maintenance qualification.

As well as working at Hightown’s head office in Hemel Hempstead, he carries out maintenance such as painting, changing door frames and ensuring local Hightown estates are clear of rubbish. At college he works on theory and practical work such as plumbing, bricklaying and electrical work.

He said: “I need to carry out a range of tasks as part of my college course and Hightown has arranged for me to get experience working with different tradesmen such as an air-conditioning engineer, a plumber and electrician.

“I enjoy the variety of work, I like the people and being part of a team.”

Acis Group

Acis Group

Acis Group, which owns and manages more than 7,000 properties across the Midlands and North of England, has just recruited its 10th apprentice.

Josh Aisthorpe, 20, (pictured above, centre, with Acis employees Jill Dickson (left) and Nicola Hall (right)) has joined the team working in conjunction with Lincoln College where he will be studying business administration.

He said: “It’s been very beneficial already, teaching me about the role but also having the experience of an office environment and learning from others here.”

Ms Dickson, volunteer and employability co-ordinator, said: “It’s great that we are using apprenticeships as a way to develop and introduce new talent into the organisation. We are committed to providing quality training and development by working with our partners to develop the skills and knowledge of our people.”

On social media

More social landlords and sector bodies are celebrating their apprentices on social media:


The Regenda Group

Cartrefi Conwy

Chartered Institute of Housing


Beyond Housing

National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week

National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week

National Careers Week

National Careers Week, which is run by a not-for-profit organisation of the same name, aims to promote the importance of good careers education in schools and colleges.

It is founded and backed by a number of volunteers from education and business and is supported by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

This year National Careers Week runs from 4 to 9 March.

National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, part of the Education and Skills Funding Agency and is “designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy”. National Apprenticeship Week also runs from 4 to 9 March this year.

Read more:

National Apprenticeship Week 2019: the housing sector celebrates its apprentices Pictures and tweets from across the UK as #ukhousing shares its apprentice success stories

Why it is crucial to promote housing careers National Careers Week offers a great platform to articulate the compelling reasons to work in housing and attract the brightest people to the sector, writes Adam Clark

Choose housing to have a real impact and a career you can be proud of As National Careers Week continues, Isabel Connolly outlines the benefits of working in the housing sector

How a housing apprenticeship changed my life Susan Thompson of First Ark explains the benefits of apprenticeships

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