A North East housing association turned to a talent pool on its doorstep when launching its latest apprenticeship programme — the people who rent its homes.
Now Karbon Homes’ 11 new recruits have joined departments across the organization; working in a range of services including repairs and maintenance, housing and community services, and central services such as customer relations, finance and communications.
“I’m delighted to welcome our 11 new apprentices to Karbon,” said Paul Fiddaman, Karbon’s group chief executive. “As an organisation that places great emphasis on supporting our customers to lead successful lives, we felt that the apprenticeship opportunities should be kept for those living in a Karbon home, and I’m really proud that we’ve been able to offer all 11 positions to our residents.
“The new apprenticeship programme not only provides brilliant opportunities for our customers, but they help us to increase the supply of skilled and diverse talent coming into both Karbon and the wider North East housing sector.”
The successful applicants were chosen from over 200 residents who applied. Karbon says they have all started work on salaries “well above” the apprentice minimum wage, with opportunities for salary increases as they progress.
Sonia Kirtley, who secured Karbon’s customer and community engagement apprentice position, and is studying for a business admin qualification, said: “Being over 40, apprenticeships aren’t always that accessible and funding isn’t always available, so when I heard about the apprenticeship with Karbon I saw it as an opportunity to enhance my skills, and learn something new whilst in employment.
“So far it’s been wonderful; I’m learning something new every day, and I’ve been able to apply and develop the skills from my background to the skills I’m learning here. The team I’m working with have made the transitions very natural, very easy, and I’m loving it.”
To deliver the programme, Karbon is working with further education colleges Gateshead College, New College Durham, and Derwentside College.
Karbon says its multi-partner approach has allowed it to place apprentices in teams based across Newcastle and County Durham.
Main Image: Paul Fiddaman (middle) with apprentices (left to right) Tylar Ford, Stacey Blackall, Helen Innes, Marc Cooper, Sonia Kirtley, Jessica Connelly, Trinity Todd, Rachel Akkaya, Mary-Leigh Watkins, Ryan Robson, Karina Fletcher