Experience or education? Kate chooses both with an apprenticeship

While some school leavers often make the decision between the future prospects of further education and the instant earning benefit of full-time work, 19-year-old Kate Strange opted for both in the form of an apprenticeship.

Gateshead-born Kate had decided against going to university for three or four years, but not against education. With a keen interest in development from her A-level geography course, she wanted to combine hands-on experience with a greater understanding in building and construction. She successfully found that combination at Home Group, a national housing and provider of integrated housing, health and care, where she has taken the title of development apprentice.

Kate says: “Initially I had a basic knowledge of the construction industry but when I read the job description I knew it would be a good opportunity to get practical experience across development and construction.”

Kate’s role has been formulated with a full-time position in the company’s Development team in mind, but also gives her the chance to learning about other departments in the organisation.

“By working with other teams and departments I’m getting a wider understanding of Home Group as a whole, and I’m also getting experience in areas that I could move into in future,” she says.

Alongside her work for the company, Kate is studying for a Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma in Construction Practice and Management, on a part-time day-release course.

“Spending one day a week out of the office gives me a chance to focus on my studying as well as other priorities,” she adds. “If I get my qualifications I can extend my programme and work towards a degree in my discipline – something that’ll help me get where I want to be as a development manager.”

Stuart Campbell, employability manager at Home Group, plays a major role in finding and developing recruits with the right qualities for the company – self-motivation and the enthusiasm for learning.

“We’re proud of the approach we take with apprentices, and that’s reinforced by the talent we’ve attracted,” he says. “Kate came into the role with an open mind, and that’s exactly what we want – if you show an interest in our values and what we do, you can achieve at Home Group.”

Come to listen and talk about housebuilding careers – apprenticeship, diversity, training and leadership – at our New Homes Debate in London on Thursday 15 March 2018.

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