05 Mar 2021
I have always been more practically minded - and not particularly academically inspired - so I found it difficult to focus on studying for exams. As a result I left school with only a small handful of qualifications and was unsure what I wanted to do for a career.
The only thing that I was certain of at that point was that I didn’t want to continue on to college or university - and that I was passionate about people and particularly about helping others.
Knowing that I learnt new skills best through practical experience I thought that the best next step for me would be to look at apprenticeship opportunities. I liked the idea of learning and gaining a qualification as well as being paid and so I started to look through the GOV.uk apprenticeship site and found that there were lots of apprenticeship options in all sorts of different sectors of work.
Having read through the job descriptions for business administration apprenticeships I thought that this sounded perfect for me as I enjoyed using a computer and had experience as well as a BTEC merit in IT from school. I decided to start applying and I found an opportunity for an apprenticeship at Trent and Dove Housing. Having looked into the company I could see that the work it does supporting its tenants to find and maintain housing was just the kind of thing that fitted in to my passion to help people. So I applied and was lucky enough to be successful.
I started with Trent and Dove straight after leaving school in 2013 when I was 16 and have been with the company now for almost eight years. They have supported me fantastically and during my time there: I have been able to complete a Level 2 and a Level 3 NVQ in business administration as well as a Level 2 in maths and English.
Having shown my commitment to the company, learnt new skills and developed into the role of business administrator I was offered an amazing opportunity to become an employment assistant. This was a new role working alongside the employment liaison officer to support tenants to find, apply for, obtain and sustain employment. As I have continued to learn and develop new skills so I have been supported to continue to progress. I am now in the role of employment liaison officer where I have lead responsibility for supporting our tenants into training, volunteering and employment opportunities, so they can better sustain their tenancies with us.
I think that apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity to learn, develop skills, gain a qualification and build up practical on-the-job experience. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to complete my apprenticeship with Trent and Dove. It has not only given me the chance to develop many valuable skills and knowledge, but it has also given me hugely increased confidence and allowed me to develop my career.
Jade Stevens is employment liaison officer at Tent and Dove Housing