An 18-year-old from Stafford is urging more young people to consider earning as they learn with an apprenticeship – after proving you can build a successful career outside the classroom.

Sasha Turnbull, who studied a 12 month apprenticeship in Business Administration at housing association Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH), says the chance to gain experience in the work environment, earn a NVQ Level 2 qualification and avoid thousands of pounds of debts has set her on the right path for the future.

Now a permanent employee, Sasha was named Apprentice of the Year in 2015 following a 12 month apprenticeship.

The former Blessed William Howard Catholic School student said: “I did well at school but after the first year of Sixth Form I decided I was ready for a change. I wanted to carry on learning and find a career whilst gaining experience in a work place environment. The thought of another four years of A-Level and university work really wasn’t for me.”

Sasha applied for the role with SARH after seeing an advert on the Government’s apprenticeships website, and has since progressed to a permanent role within the landlord’s Central Corporate Services Team.

“I love it,” she said. “I have learned a lot from the team and I’ve gained a qualification as well. I’ve got some big ambitions about what I want to achieve in my career and I feel like I’m well on my way. I want to keep learning and eventually work my way up into management, and hopefully one day head up a department.”

Despite a lot of her former school friends heading off to university, Sasha says she feels like she has made the right choice for her future.

“I didn’t want to spend years in lectures and get into lots of debt,” she added.

“Now I’m earning my own money and feel like I have started on a very strong career path.”

SARH, which is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary, has an annual programme for employing apprentices across its trades and office teams, and with its own Apprenticeship Academy providing structured one year programmes that allow people to work across different sections of the organisation to learn new skills.

The landlord also runs a pre-apprenticeship programme for unemployed young people aged 16-24, to help them gain valuable work experience.

Jo Hough, Assistant Director of Organisational Development at SARH, said: “We are committed to helping young people living in our communities into jobs that inspire them, and our apprenticeship programme is a great way of doing that.

"It is extremely rewarding to see people like Sasha loving the work they do and learning on the job. We are sure that this is the start of a very promising career for her.”

"Anyone who is interested in our new opportunities for 2016 can find our more on our website."

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