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Apprentice Challenge to be launched at Scottish housing conference

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Apprentice Challenge to be launched at Scottish housing conference


Published by Anonymous for in Housing

Apprentice Challenge to be launched at Scottish housing conference Apprentice Challenge to be launched at Scottish housing conference

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has launched its first ever Apprentice Challenge today to highlight the need for investment in apprentices, for the future benefit of the social housing sector as well as the young people themselves.

The Apprentice Challenge will see 19 young workers from housing associations and co-operatives across Scotland take on a task over the course of the SFHA’s annual conference.

During the challenge - sponsored by City Building - the apprentices will work in teams to design a sustainable community which is economically, environmentally and socially healthy for current and future generations. The challenge aims to equip the young people with new skills and knowledge which they can transfer to their working environment. It should allow them a chance to network with sector leaders and help build their confidence.

The teams will comprise six key jobs roles including a housing association chairperson, housing director, finance manager, housing manager, community benefits manager and housing maintenance manager.

The apprentices will present their ideas on the afternoon of Friday 6 June and conference delegates will vote to decide on who wins the challenge. The winning team will have to demonstrate their skills in leadership, team working, budgeting and communication as well as present the best overall solution.

The SFHA’s 2014 annual conference, entitled Leading Change, focuses on the strong leadership required to guide the sector through the challenges it is currently experiencing, such as the effects of the UK Government’s welfare reforms. It is the key Scottish social housing event and is attended by sector leaders from across Scotland.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP will address the conference on Thursday 5 June.

Carly Connolly, 17, is in her 2nd and final year of a Business Administration Apprenticeship with Glasgow Housing Association (GHA). She said: “I chose to do the apprenticeship as I attended an information day before I applied which allowed me to find out a lot about what I would be doing. I liked the sound of what I would be doing while completing my SVQ in Admin and Business - I would get to learn about housing and be able to help people while doing my day-to-day job.

“I have really enjoyed learning new skills such as customer service and admin. I enjoy being able to deal with customers face-to-face on a daily basis and making a difference to tenants’ lives.

“In the future I hope to secure myself a permanent post within GHA and further my career within the housing sector.”

Calum Rennie, 18, is a Housing Management Apprentice with Paragon Housing Association which is based in Grangemouth. His apprenticeship is for one year. He said: “I decided to do the apprenticeship after being offered an interview from Falkirk Council for an apprenticeship in housing. I researched the sector and decided to go for the interview after reading that there is so much that goes on in housing from repairs to arrears, anti-social cases to allocating properties. I thought it would be a good a job to get into as every day is different and there are many different challenges.

“I have enjoyed working with a variety of people within the office and outwith, including working closely with different contractors for day to day repairs, refurbishing and improving properties.

“I plan to finish my apprenticeship and work my way up the ranks to housing officer or to start training to become a maintenance officer.”

Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of the SFHA, said: “We decided to hold the Apprentice Challenge to highlight the fact that it is crucial that we invest in young people now as they are the sector’s future leaders. The challenge is an excellent way for the apprentices to further develop their learning, and for our sector to showcase the young talent that we have and inspire others to follow.

“Having benefited personally from employment traineeships in my youth, I know just how important it is for us to encourage investment in the next generation of housing workers. Nurturing young housing professionals now will benefit the sector in the years to come.

“Apprenticeships are an excellent way to equip people with the skills and experience that they will need for the future as well as being a route into employment.

“It is vital that we attract and shape young people now to become innovative leaders who will improve the social housing sector and keep it fresh and moving forward.”

Graham Paterson, Executive Director of City Building, said: “As the largest employer of apprentices in Scotland, we recognise the value of investing in young people through employment, training opportunities and working with some of our clients who attend the conference. We are delighted to be part of this initiative which will enhance the skills of the housing association workforce of tomorrow.”


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