This week (3 to 9 February) is National Apprenticeship Week, the annual celebration of the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy. At Lewisham Homes, we are committed to supporting and investing in local young people, and have trained more than 90 apprentices over the past 10 years, with many going on to earn permanent positions in the organisation.
This week we’re hearing from apprentices past and present about their experience of on-the-job training with us. We caught up with one of these, Ciara Bacchus-Thompson, to find out how she’s found her apprenticeship here at Lewisham Homes.
What’s your role and how long have you been at Lewisham Homes?
I’m currently the people services apprentice and I’ve been at Lewisham Homes for two years and four months.
What have you studied in your apprenticeship and why has it been important to you?
I did a Level 2 housing apprenticeship with the Chartered Institute for Housing in the strategic asset management team. One of the main reasons that I applied for the apprenticeship was because I’ve lived in Catford my whole life but I knew basically nothing about the area, so I thought that it would be a great way to learn.
What difference has doing the apprenticeship made?
I wouldn’t have been able to see all the things that contribute to running a successful housing organisation if I wasn’t an apprentice. For instance, I was given the opportunity to shadow the housing and communities team for a week, and was able to meet residents and go to their houses which wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t doing the apprenticeship.
I now know a lot more about the area that I live in, and I’m a lot more confident in my knowledge and skills than when I started. I feel like I can I can take what I’ve learned from the apprenticeship and apply it to other roles. I have a better attitude towards learning and know my preferred learning style, and doing the apprenticeship has opened up other doors for me where I’m being trusted with big tasks and given more responsibility.
What are you doing now?
I am now the apprentice in people services, so I work in both human resources (HR) and organisational development. I’m about to start my Level 3 apprenticeship doing the HR side of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualification.
What’s your advice to someone who’s thinking about completing an apprenticeship?
I’d say go for it. It’s one of the best ways to get experience in fields that you might choose to work in during your career. You learn while on the job, plus you get paid! Apprenticeships are quite flexible in terms of the way you learn depending on which one you choose, so they’re not specific to one type of learning style. You get to build both working and personal relationships with your colleagues and you’ll receive an amazing amount of support from them, your manager and other people around you.
Keep an eye on our website for interviews with new and longer-standing apprentices to find out more about being an apprentice at Lewisham Homes, or head to our apprentices page for more information.