Helping Young People Into A Fulfilling New Career 

Three young people who have kick-started a fulfilling career after joining Suffolk Housing as apprentices have encouraged others to follow their lead and earn while they learn.

Speaking ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, which starts on Monday 6 March, the trio have described their gratitude at being given the chance to earn a qualification while gaining valuable workplace experience and taking home a pay packet.

They are the latest in a long line of trainees who have been given a helping hand onto the career ladder by Suffolk Housing.

The most recent recruit is corporate services apprentice Jake Gregory, who joined Suffolk Housing in October after previously working in a supermarket bakery.

Over the next two years, he will complete a Level 3 BTEC in admin under the supervision of assessors from West Suffolk College while also gaining vital workplace experience.

“I thought the apprenticeship would be a really good opportunity to get a qualification as well as experience in an office, all while earning a wage,” said Jake, who is 18 and lives in Sudbury.

Jake Gregory“I really enjoy the job as its very varied and I do different things every day. This includes running reports looking at our current tenures and researching the amount which other housing associations charge to rent a garage, for example, to make sure our prices are fair and comparable. I also work on reception and in customer services, which means I’m getting lots of experience working in different areas.

“I would recommend apprenticeships and really hope to secure a permanent position with Suffolk Housing after I have finished my course.”

Zoe Lucas, 26, started working for Suffolk Housing in April 2010 as a finance trainee, and is now finance business partner after completing two professional accountancy qualifications, most recently a Chartered Institute of Management Accounting.

She has made such an impact during her career so far that she reached the final 10 of a prestigious competition to find 24housing’s “young leader of the future” in 2016.

“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship and am not sure where I would have got to without it,” said Zoe, who lives in Red Lodge. “I’m really grateful for the support Suffolk Housing has given me through my two courses, as I would not have been able to fund the training alone.

“Doing a job which supports your studies is really useful and gives you the best of both worlds as you are able to use both the things you learn at college and the practical experience you gain in the workplace.”

Abbie Jordan, 21, joined Suffolk Housing as a tenant liaison apprentice in spring 2015 and recently completed a customer services qualification. She impressed managers so much during her apprenticeship that she has now been offered a substantive role as a community development advisor.

“I really enjoyed my apprenticeship as it gave me the opportunity to meet people from all different backgrounds and get first-hand experience of frontline customer services,” said Abbie, who lives in Stowmarket.

“I also like the fact that I’ve been able to earn while learning and also gaining experience in the workplace. I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to others – you really get the chance to build up knowledge and grow into a role. It’s a brilliant way into a career.”

Sue Philp, chief executive of Suffolk Housing, said: “We have a long heritage of supporting young people into fulfilling new careers, which began when we employed our first trainee in 2000.

“Jake, Abbie and Zoe have brought with them huge enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, and are a testament to just how successful apprenticeships can be. We would certainly encourage others to consider taking on apprentices – in our experience, they are fantastic addition to any team and bring a fresh new perspective into the workplace.

“We’re delighted to have helped various young people into a new career over the years and look forward to employing more apprentices in the future.”

Zoe Lucas


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