"Worth every challenge to know that you are making a real difference"
For today's National Apprenticeship Week blog we welcome Hannah Kerr from Clanmil Housing Group in Belfast. Hannah thought apprenticeships were only for "trade jobs." She was pleasantly surprised...
In April 2016, I saw an advert for an apprentice administrator in a housing association, based in Belfast. I was unsure as to what an apprentice administrator would be, as I always assumed apprentices were for trade jobs and couldn’t imagine what this would entail in an office environment.
After doing some research and learning that an apprenticeship is a job where I would be earning a wage, learning new skills, gaining qualifications while at work, being treated the same as everybody else and setting myself up for the future, I applied. In June 2016, I began my new job as an apprentice housing administrator in the housing management department at Clanmil Housing.
The first couple of weeks in my new role were spent settling in, and then the time came to start my NVQ level 2 in business administration. Two outside tutors came into my organisation to teach myself and another apprentice. We picked different modules which were tailored to our own individual job roles, meaning we got the best out of the experience and learnt skills which enabled us to carry out our job functions and develop these further for the future. I really enjoyed the apprenticeship programme, learning on the job and meeting with my tutors. My employers were very supportive, I had time to study and I always had a support network where I could ask questions and gain resources that helped me develop not only professionally but also personally.
After completion of the NVQ level 2, I was delighted to be made a permanent member of staff. My job title changed to housing administrator without the word ‘apprentice.’ I was given a further opportunity to complete NVQ level 3 in business administration. I decided to complete my level 3 which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I value my time from the apprenticeship programme as I gained valuable learning from the course content. My tutors and my colleagues also provided me with a great support network for on the job work experience and encouraged me to develop into a professional. On completion of the apprenticeship programme in October 2017, I stayed in the position of housing administrator until April 2019. This is when I progressed to housing assistant, and I now work in the income recovery team, where I help our tenants sustain their tenancies through maintaining their rent accounts and managing arrears.
As a housing professional, I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and last year I was accepted to become part of the CIH Futures NI group. The main aim of Futures is to ensure that housing as a career choice is promoted, and we organise events to bring people together and show them how great the housing sector is. Working in housing offers a number of exciting career opportunities, and every day is different. Anyone who works in housing will tell you that it is an exciting yet challenging career, but it is worth every challenge to know that you are making a real difference to peoples’ lives.
To find out more about housing apprenticeships, take a look at http://www.cih.org/apprenticeships.