My story: Josh, business administration apprentice
When Housing Plus Group and Stafford and Rural Homes joined together, we said that we would pool our resources to do more to make a positive difference for homes, lives and communities in this area.
One of the most important challenges we set ourselves was to create 100 apprenticeship places in our new Group and its supply chain within five years of the merger launch. We have already made great progress towards that target. We currently employ 36 apprentices, and have a further 16 colleagues using apprenticeship training to boost their skills and improve their job prospects.
Josh Evans, 22, is a business administration apprentice with Care Plus. He told us how his apprenticeship has changed his life:
“I was a machine operator in an engineering company when I saw the advert for this job. I’d never worked in an office but I’d already made a lot of changes in the previous year. I had lost ten stone, so I looked and felt very different. It felt like the right time to change my career, too.
“An apprenticeship is great because it gives you time to learn – you’re not only studying towards a qualification but you’re also learning about the organisation. I didn’t know anything about housing or care when I started and my eyes have really been opened. I’ve loved getting to know the incredible, dedicated people who work for Care Plus and meeting some of our customers.
This is a big Group with lots of opportunities and everyone has been really supportive. I’m encouraged to use my initiative and if I can see an alternative way to do something, my colleagues listen. There’s no sense that because I’m still learning I haven’t got anything to offer; we all respect each other.
“I’m proud to work here. When someone asks me what I do, I really want to tell them! The day I got home after shadowing our floating support team, I couldn’t stop talking about the amazing support that we provide.
“My apprenticeship was a chance to kick-start my career. I’m a lot more confident now and much more positive about the future. I’m not the person I used to be.”
Sue Atkins is head of specialist supported housing at Care Plus. She says that Josh “Fitted into the team as though he has always been here! He has learned a huge amount and he’s been able to apply his skills and knowledge to develop in a new role.
“Apprenticeships offer fantastic learning, experience and employment opportunities and as an organisation, we benefit from attracting talented and enthusiastic people like Josh.”
Housing Plus Group is proud to be part of the 5% Club. This is an employer-led charity bringing together organisations investing in a generation by aiming to have five per cent of their workforce in ‘earn and learn’ positions including apprenticeships, graduate schemes and sponsored studies.