What type of apprenticeship did you do?
I did a Housing Apprenticeship in 2013. This ran alongside my Housing Practices Level 3 qualification, which was organised through the Chartered Institute of Housing.
What were you doing before you started the apprenticeship?
I had numerous jobs, including working in a gym, a plumber and setting up a window cleaning company with my dad.
Why did you apply for the apprenticeship role?
I felt my professional career wasn’t really going how I'd hoped. The window cleaning company was going well, but I didn’t feel fulfilled or challenged, so I required a change. My sister, who also works at Dacorum Borough Council, suggested I try the apprenticeship scheme. I was unsure at first, but once I looked into it further and saw the future progression that was possible, as well as the qualifications I could gain, I chose to apply.
What was a typical day like for you?
At the beginning it was a lot of getting used to the operating systems and what each team in housing actually does. Before I came to the Council, ‘Housing’ to me was simply putting people in a house, I never knew all the hard work that came before, during and even after the tenancy.
I began with a lot of data entry and shadowing more experienced members of staff. Slowly I was introduced to more challenging pieces of work, and soon became able to use my own initiative and apply what I was learning on my course to my day job. I spent three months in the Lettings team, followed by six months in Strategic Housing. I then went to the Housing Tenancy team, where I am now.
What did you enjoy about the apprenticeship, and what are the benefits of an apprenticeship programme?
I enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside a variety of teams, and being able to pick up a lot of knowledge along the way. The chance to study and learn whilst I worked was invaluable. It really gives you the opportunity to submerge yourself in housing and practise what you are learning. The structure of the apprenticeship allowed me to move from team to team every few months, so things never had the chance to get stale. I was always learning something new and, more importantly, broadening my skill set.
What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship?
I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship, especially to those in a similar position to me, who aren’t too sure where they are going professionally. The chance to earn while you learn and get the ins and outs of a profession can be invaluable.
What are the future prospects and opportunities for you?
After just over a year I found myself in the Housing Tenancy team and applied to cover a secondment role. This was successful, and upon completing that I was awarded the role in a full-time capacity. I've been given the opportunity to continue my studies as well, which I intend to do and hopefully progress my knowledge and career further.