Apprentice, Caine Aaron-Brown tells his story

Image of Caine I’m on a two year plumbing apprenticeship with SBHG. I applied through The Clement James Centre, an organisation that helps people to find employment and works with them on their CVs. I have been at SBHG for five months. I’m enjoying it; there are a lot of things for me to learn. My manager told me I would be learning things from other trades so although my main role is plumbing, I’m also learning about carpentry, gas and others. I am putting this into practice so I get to learn the different trade on each job. One day I might do plumbing and another day the job will be carpentry. I’m also studying at college one day a week.

I wanted to go to college as well, although I much prefer the practical side to learning. I’ve put into practice the things I’m learning. I’ve fixed things at home. I’ve save my family money which we would have had to spend on getting a handyman in to fix the problem. I hope that at the end of my apprenticeship, SBHG will employ me or provide me with the support I will need to find another job.

Apprenticeships are brilliant. You earn and learn at the same time. If you’re at college you’re just learning the theory behind the trade. Practical experience is really valuable. It makes you more ‘sellable’. I think more people will employ you if you’ve got both.

Former apprentice, Mensa tells her story

Mensa smiling outside After working in a factory for seven years and volunteering as a receptionist with a mental health charity, I joined SBHG as an admin volunteer in March 2013. An apprenticeship gives you both experience and a qualification and gives you the opportunity to get familiar with the working environment. I’ve found it a real step up.

As a neighbourhood apprentice, Mensa updated the personal records of residents and created information packs for things like mutual exchanges. Her manager, said: "Mensa has been excellent. Having her on the team really has made a difference to the communication we send out to residents."

Former apprentice Freddie Jones tells his story

Image of former apprentice Freddie Jones Prior to working here, I was working in an estate agents.

My time here has been a whirl wind of opportunities. I joined SBHG as lettings admin support apprentice in 2013. For a year, I worked in estate agents taking people on viewings and doing general admin. Although it was a good job and I was getting paid, I didn’t feel like I was gaining much by way of experience and wasn’t enjoying it.

I started looking at apprenticeships as I thought this would be a good starting point to build a career. I eventually got the job. I was so relieved when my role was confirmed. I was also studying for a nationally recognised housing qualification NVQ Level 2 Housing. I got my qualification in 2015.

I decided to try something new and applied for a role in our customer insight department. The team deals with all anner of subjects ranging from data analysis to handling complaints. I’ve been doing this for just over a year. I’m really enjoying the role. It also helps if you’re working for a manager who supports you. In fact the whole team is very supportive of each other.

I highly recommend apprenticeship as I feel it was important in getting my permanent role. If you’ve got limited experience, an apprenticeship is definitely a worthwhile opportunity. I hope my story can inspire people to consider apprenticeships after school or college as an alternative to university. Apprenticeships gives you the real life, day-to-day working experiences that you need to do your job. The benefit of doing it is that it gives you the skills many employers seek when recruiting employees. Importantly, you also earn while you learn. 

Our apprenticeships programmes are advertised on our website here