One of the North East’s largest housing associations, Karbon Homes, has expanded its skilled workforce through a bespoke apprenticeship programme, designed in partnership with Gateshead College.
The programme has brought a host of talented residents into numerous permanent positions at Karbon Homes, including a full-time role for Jessica Connelly who has successfully completed a business administration apprenticeship with Gateshead College whilst working in Karbon’s Customer Relationship team.
Jessica saw an apprenticeship as a chance to move into a new career, which she had previously found difficult as a full-time mum with limited work experience.
Jessica Connelly said: “Because I’m a full-time mum, I’d always found it difficult to find a job which offers a good work life balance.
“As Karbon provides colleagues with support and a foundation to build the life they want to build, they’ve made a career change possible for me and my family.
“Being a Karbon tenant has had a real advantage. I’ve been that person calling up with queries, so I feel like I can relate to them on that level.
“I appreciate the service that I would want to receive so I feel confident I can deliver that service to the residents who ring in.
“Taking the apprenticeship route was great and learning whilst earning really helped me develop both the skills and confidence I needed. The tutors at the college were brilliant and offered so much support, they really helped make this experience a great one. What I’ve loved most is that it has opened up so many doors for me. Both my qualification and my work experience combined have really set me up for a great career.”
On completing the apprenticeship Jessica secured a Homes Team Assistant role, supporting with the advertising, managing and letting of Karbon’s available homes.
Jessica continued: “Within my new role as Homes Team Assistant I have a whole host of responsibilities and no two days are ever the same which makes the job really exciting.
“The things I learnt about customer service at college have been so valuable and enabled me to succeed in the role.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds and working in a big organisation like Karbon, with so many avenues to explore, who knows where I could be heading.”
In line with its people-focused ethos, the organisation’s apprenticeship scheme is kept exclusively available to those living in a Karbon household. Karbon Homes residents can apply for an apprenticeship in a wide range of areas including communications, graphic design and customer service.
Karbon Homes owns and manages almost 30,000 properties across the North East of England and Yorkshire. Over the next five years the company is investing £233m in new affordable homes, offering people the chance to get onto the home ownership ladder through Rent to Buy and Shared Ownership.
Suzanne Slater, assistant principal for apprenticeships at Gateshead College, said: “Our apprenticeship programme with Karbon Homes is proving to be a real success for the organisation.
“Some of the UK’s biggest employers come to us with often complex and demanding training and development needs. By working closely with them and really getting under the skin of their business we’re able to create and deliver a training or apprenticeship programme to solve the challenges they’re facing, equipping their future workforce with the skills they need to succeed.”
“Huge congratulations to Jessica and the other Karbon Homes residents who have successfully completed apprenticeships with us and now enjoying a permanent role at the organisation.”