Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

This week is National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2020). This week-long celebration is about bringing the whole apprenticeship community together to celebrate the impact that apprenticeship schemes have on individuals, the economy and employers.

We are a proud employer of apprentices across many of our departments, from our multi-skilled operatives, plumbers and painters and decorators, to our administration apprentices in our asset, HR, project and regeneration departments to name a few. It’s a common misconception that being an apprentice is just about ‘making the tea’ when it’s actually about being part of the team, providing a vital role in our business goals and progressing your own career path.

As well as working closely with the local college, Petroc, to place apprentices in our employment we also have our own youth scheme where many of our apprentices have come through from youth club at a young age, to become senior youth club members, apprentices within the business and then onto full time employment with NDH.

Meet some of our current apprentices

So, what does it mean to be an apprentice? We asked our apprentices to give their tips and advice on being an NDH apprentice.

Jasmine Stanbury, Income Team Apprentice:

“The reason I started looking for an apprenticeship at NDH was because I felt like school and college weren’t really my thing. Apprenticeships seemed like a really good choice as you get so much experience  as well as a qualification at the end of it. It’s so hard to get a job these days without actual experience so having the qualifications and workplace experience seemed like the way to go. NDH is a great place to look for apprenticeships as they consider everyone and our apprentices aren’t only in one age group. For anyone who is unsure on where to go after school or in general and aren’t keen on attending college, I would highly recommend an apprenticeship as a good route to go. I never really felt like I was achieving anything until I got my apprenticeship and now I feel like I’m doing something I actually enjoy.”

Daniel Coker, Asset Management Team Apprentice:

“I originally wanted to an apprenticeship so I could ‘earn and learn’ however as the year progresses I have realised that the business has benefitted me a lot, I’ve learnt so many useful skills that I will use throughout my career in years to come and I’m becoming wiser which will benefit me for the rest of my life.”

Abigail Kingdon, Project Team Apprentice:

“I wanted to do an apprenticeship as it is a good way of learning whilst also gaining practical experience in a working environment. I’m really enjoying my time at NDH and feel I’m getting the support I need!”

Georgia Richards, Neighbourhoods Team Apprentice:

“I chose to do an apprenticeship as I was always the person who had no idea what they wanted to do and changed my mind so many times. After finishing school I went onto college to do my a-levels but didn’t have a particular career path in mind I just chose to study the subjects that I enjoyed and hoped that I would figure out what I wanted to do. After finishing my a-levels I still wasn’t sure so chose to do an apprenticeship as it enabled me to gain experience in the workplace as well as working towards a qualification. Having been part of the youth project with North Devon Homes since I was 10 years old everyone was really supportive and encouraged me to apply, as I have grown up with the project it is great to now be employed by North Devon Homes. I would definitely recommend doing an apprenticeship if like me you are unsure of what you want to do or just don’t think college is the right route for you as it enables you to gain experience and a qualification as well as other skills that can be used in everyday life. By doing my apprenticeship I have found something that I actually enjoy.”

When the hard work pays off

We asked some of our past apprentices how they viewed apprenticeships now they’ve moved on with their careers either with North Devon Homes or elsewhere:

Sophie Dewey, Commercial Development Officer:

“The apprenticeship scheme is a great opportunity for individuals to gain a real life working experience and gain confidence in a professional working environment. I have found the apprenticeship scheme to be a huge benefit to me as I have learnt a variety of new skills to which I can apply to my professional career.”

Ellie Lees, Former NDH Apprentice now working as Works Scheduler in London:

“Doing my apprenticeship at North Devon Homes gave me great experience and skills to be able to develop my career allowing me to progress to a similar role based in London. My apprenticeship also gave me a good understanding of being a professional in the workplace.”

Suzanne Cocks, Management Accounts Assistant:

“I loved the people at NDH it makes a big difference when you come to work if the people around you are friendly and helpful and work as a team. My advice for new apprentices would be to work hard, it’s worth it!”

A word from our CEO

Our CEO, Martyn Gimber, also started working life as an apprentice. Back in 1984 he was made an apprentice and office junior:

“I was so lucky to have been given an opportunity as an apprentice in a forward thinking housing organisation when I left school many years ago (1984!) – I embraced the opportunity given as an office junior and apprentice and was able to learn many new skills and learn all about the industry. This support coupled with my enthusiasm and hard work lead to many roles in the sector and housing culminating in the ultimate role as a CEO. I am so grateful for the opportunities that were given to me and the support given and it shows that you can achieve anything you want with dedication, hard work and a positive approach. There are still times when I feel like an apprentice in the CEO role as we do so many new things and you have to learn new things really quickly and that’s the part I have always really enjoyed”