Apprentices building careers with Bernicia

Bernicia’s new apprentices are taking full advantage of the opportunities on offer to them as they take their first steps into the world of work.

Lewis Minto, Tammy Johnson, James Fergus, Molly Bryan and Niall Flynn, are amongst the latest apprentices to join the North East housing association’s highly successful apprenticeships programme.

Over the past ten years, more than 50 young people have successfully completed their apprenticeships in roles spanning electricians, joiners, plumbers, plasterers and bricklayers through to housing assistants, IT support, procurement specialists and business administrators.

And over 97% of those apprentices have chosen to stay and pursue their careers with Bernicia – such as head of property Ryan Irving-Carr, who originally joined the company as an apprentice plumber.

In total, 16 young people are currently working at Bernicia at different stages of their apprenticeships.

The new recruits will spend between 18 months and four years on the programme, in paid employment combined with one day’s training per week with colleges and learning providers.

Apprentice plumber Lewis, 21, said: “I was working on a supermarket management programme but I wanted to change my life and working as a gas plumber means I get to do something different every day.

“I knew that this role offered me so many more opportunities and I get paid to do it.

“The biggest thing that I’ve learned is how much organisation it takes to make the trades operation work, it’s such a big complicated organisation to make work well.”

Tammy, 17, working in the central services team at Bernicia’s commercial arm Kingston, said: “Everyone is really helpful, people always take me through things and never overload me with work.

“I’d like to be able to experience other parts of the business in future, like property management and the estates team to learn what they do. It’s a great company and I’d love to work for them.”

Jackie Johnson, Bernicia employability manager, said: “An apprenticeship provides the skills and knowledge they need, as well as the social skills that are vital in the workplace to secure a full-time role at Bernicia.

“We have a retention rate of just over 97% for the apprentices completing our programme, who decide to stay with us to pursue a career.

“For Bernicia, we are growing our next generation of our workforce. We’ve so many examples of young people who joined us as apprentices who have gone on to fill important roles within our business.

“Apprenticeships give them the confidence to take their first steps into the world of work – for many this can be their first experience of the workplace.

“I see them mature so much during their time with us, the increase in confidence is so rewarding to see – to see them fulfil their potential.”