How apprentices are learning and earning at The Pioneer Group

Aston, Lewis and Ailisha are just three young team members that have benefited from apprenticeships at The Pioneer Group.

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme, which allows participants to earn a recognised qualification whilst gaining practical experience. At The Pioneer Group, apprentices have the opportunity to help people and communities. Based in and around Castle Vale, the group aims to improve the provision of good quality, affordable housing and a myriad of other supporting services for local residents.

Here we talk to these three apprentices; one who completed their apprenticeship and has developed a career within lettings management; one who had recently completed her apprenticeship and been offered full time employment with The Pioneer Group; and another who is currently experiencing the scheme.

Meet Commercial Property Officer Aston

Aston completed her Business Administration NVQ level 2 apprenticeship in April 2016, and during her placement worked across several departments including Digital Inclusion, Estates Services and Customer Service.

The Pioneer Group offered her the opportunity to work with diverse teams and experience different job functions. She even shadowed court cases, learnt how to help tenants with money advice, attended viewings for purchasing, costed refurbishments and arranged lettings.

This experience helped her to secure her permanent role. Aston reveals:

I now have a greater insight into housing, the knowledge and experience I gained within my apprenticeship helped me identify the career I really wanted. After my apprenticeship, a job came up on the Partnership and Development team as a Lettings Assistant, I applied and was excited to find I was successful.

Since then, I have been given multiple opportunities to grow within my career and The Pioneer Group gives me new challenges to take me out of my comfort zone and push me to provide the best service I can.

Four years in and Aston now has her first line management position, where she manages the Market Rent portfolio consisting of 37 properties for Stockland Green Opportunity Housing and Training and 67 market rent for Pioneer Places.

The Pioneer Group is also a firm believer in investing in progressive development, with Aston benefiting from training programmes, and events such as ’24 Housing, Young Leaders Experience’ and CIH Be Bold in your Career.

Ailisha secures permanent employment with our Customer 1st team

Alisha finished her apprenticeship in 2019 and now works as part of the Customer 1st contact centre team.

Ailisha left school and didn’t have a clear idea of what to do, going on to study beauty therapy while working part time in retail. She recognised that she wasn’t fulfilling her potential so decided on an apprenticeship. Used to earning and with a passion for learning, over two years, Ailisha combined work and college to gain a Level 2 Business Administration qualification.

She has also benefited from on the job training including courses such as Mental Health Awareness and Young People, Autism Awareness and Events Management.

Ailisha explains why she enjoyed her apprenticeship:

I got to work for many different teams and learnt so much. From housing visits, tenant inspections, taking incoming calls to working with the employment and youth teams, I feel like I have done so much in the two years I have been here. We’re always encouraged to get involved, and the people and atmosphere is really positive.

I’m so pleased I chose an apprenticeship because they genuinely help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. I was lucky enough to have been in employment before this opportunity, but now I feel I’ve been given the tools to really progress my career.

Today Ailisha’s job consists of helping tenants with their queries. With growing confidence, she is adept at building relationships with both internal teams and tenants.

Lewis identifies IT as a career choice through apprenticeship

Lewis is one of The Pioneer Group’s current apprentices and during his experience it has become clear that a future in IT is ahead.

After leaving Greenwood Academy armed with a range of qualifications, Lewis knew he wanted to continue studying, and was attracted by the opportunity to learn and work simultaneously at The Pioneer Group.

He is just over a year into his Business Administration apprenticeship, has embraced the opportunity to work across different departments, and is currently working with the IT team.

When asked about the apprenticeship, Lewis shares:

I really enjoy everything about the organisation; from the people to the roles, especially IT. It’s been refreshing to take on knowledge in a different way as I don’t have to spend all day studying, instead I learn as I work.

This apprenticeship has given me the opportunity for a varied learning experience, and from that I know that in the future I would like to take on an IT related role as I will be able to help others and work in a dynamic and exciting career.

So if you’re considering which direction to take whether it’s further education or getting your career started, why not take a look at your local apprenticeship schemes. They are great way to learn a trade in a hands-on environment, and a valuable approach to get your foot in the door of an employer in your chosen industry.