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Craig completes his Apprenticeship journey

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Craig completes his Apprenticeship journey

SENTINEL HOUSING ASSOCIATION Logo

Published by Anonymous for Sentinel Housing Association Ltd in Housing and also in Education

Craig Oliver - HomeTeam plumber Craig Oliver - HomeTeam plumber

Monday 11 August 2014 was a momentous day for Craig Oliver, as it was his first day as a full time, permanent member of Sentinel Housing Association’s HomeTeam.


Craig joined Sentinel back in September 2012, when he’d just turned 19, as a plumbing apprentice. Working alongside his mentor, HomeTeam plumber Rob Dolton, Craig learned the practical skills he needed to do the job while studying for his Level 2 NVQ qualification at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT).
Craig is typical of a growing number of young people who are choosing to earn while they learn over going to university. According to the National Apprenticeship Service, there are currently about 20,000 Apprenticeships on offer, in a range of occupations, which will give young people the opportunity to train for a career. Research shows that the extra money a graduate can expect to earn, or “graduate premium”, is down from 52% in 1994 to 27%. And research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency also shows that one in 10 graduates is still unemployed six months after leaving university. Further research shows that students are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of going to university rises. According to Lloyds TSB’s third annual student finance report, more than half of the 2,000 students surveyed (58 %) reckoned they’d end up with debts of over £10,000 by the time they finished their studies.


Craig carries on his story…


“Four months before I finished my Apprenticeship I started going out in the van by myself and doing jobs on my own. I built up to this slowly over time. First I started to drive the small van, then I started working odd days by myself, before I moved on to driving the big van. It was really nice not to be chucked in at the deep end. I was pretty nervous the first time I went out on my own, but it was good to just get on and do the job. And I always know, if I do need help, I can count on the support of the other boys in HomeTeam.


Now I’m regularly out and about, fixing leaks and replacing plumbing fittings, all over Basingstoke, Fleet and Yateley. As I’m a permanent member of the team, it also means that I’m on the out of hours rota - going out to emergency jobs late at night and on weekends.


One of the best things that happened during my Apprenticeship was winning BCoT’s Apprentice of the Year award this summer. It was a real surprise when I got the letter about it through the post. The other really good thing was having Rob as my mentor. I’ve learnt so much from him and have made a good friend.
It’s an exciting time to be part of HomeTeam, as we’re growing and progressing the work we take on. I’m keen to learn new things, such as tiling, which will help me improve my skills and progress my career within the organisation.”


Cathryn Gee, Head of HR, said, “We’re very proud of Craig and all that he’s achieved during his Apprenticeship. He’s worked so hard throughout the two years and we’re really happy that he’s joined us on a permanent basis. It’s great that we’re able to offer young people an alternative to further education or university.”


Sentinel have recently recruited four housing apprentices, who’ll be joining their team in September and are also in the process of recruiting a new plumbing apprentice to join HomeTeam.

Find out more about Sentinel's Apprenticeship programme.

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