National Apprenticeship Week 2022
Apprenticeships provide skills for life, boost your confidence and offer an excellent alternative to university study, say current Wales & West Housing Group employees who started their careers as apprentices.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2022, which runs from 7-13 February, staff have revealed their career journeys to date and career progression opportunities which started with an apprenticeship.
“Without the skills and experience I gained from my apprenticeship I wouldn’t have become an Operations Manager. I have the skills and knowledge to help the people I work with.”
Wayne Morris, Operations Manager, Cambria Maintenance Services
Carlo Vanderplank-Jones studied for an apprenticeship in electrotechnical engineering from 2001-2005, gaining permanent employment immediately and then working his way up to senior management since then.
He currently works as an Operations Manager for Cambria Maintenance Services, managing a team of engineers to deliver housing maintenance services.
“An apprenticeship is a huge opportunity, a fantastic way to enter the world of work which brings great reward – you get paid to learn a skill that will stay with you for life,” said Carlo.
“I did consider going back to school to study A-levels after completing GCSEs but ended up choosing an apprenticeship. The flexibility of an apprenticeship meant that I could also study for my A-levels by attending night college at the same time.
“The most valuable thing I learnt was an appreciation of hard work – the more effort you put in, the more reward you get out,” he added.
“The skills I learnt have provided me with excellent technical knowledge, not only in the electrical field but construction in general. I still use that technical knowledge daily to help solve problems and provide advice and guidance in my current role as a manager.”
Compliance Assistant Charlotte Street secured a place on a Health and Social Care at university but opted to study for an apprenticeship instead.
“I decided that university wasn’t for me so I spoke to a local college and signed up for an apprenticeship in Customer Service and Business Administration.”
Charlotte went straight into employment, eventually working in property management and joining Wales & West Housing in 2016.
As compliance assistant she is responsible for overseeing queries relating to everything from lift breakdowns to fire alarm faults, liaising with contractors to ensure repair works are completed and keeping audit information up-to-date.
“Studying for an apprenticeship meant that I gained experience of work sooner than if I had gone to university, and I was able to earn money while learning new skills.
“My confidence grew a lot while I was doing my apprenticeship and the social and communication skills I picked up along the way have grown and developed from there.”
“An apprenticeship is a huge opportunity, a fantastic way to enter the world of work which brings great reward – you get paid to learn a skill that will stay with you for life.”
Carlo Vanderplank-Jones, Operations Manager, Cambria Maintenance Services
Wayne Morris, an Operations Manager for Cambria Maintenance Services, is a Mason Paver/Bricklayer by trade, having studied for a four-year apprenticeship in the 1970s at Merthyr Tydfil Technical College.
He started his career as a self-employed contractor, working for construction companies all over Wales, Bristol and London.
Wayne has been with the Wales & West Housing Group for 13 years, starting out as an Asset Management Officer with Wales & West Housing before moving to Cambria eight years ago.
Enjoying a wide and varied career, Wayne has also been employed as a youth worker.
“When I was old enough to start work the only opportunities I had was to work underground or get an apprenticeship,” he said. “My father advised me to find an apprenticeship, he would say “if you get a trade you will never be out of work.
“My apprenticeship taught me a lot of practical & communication skills. The most valuable thing I gained from my apprenticeship was the ability to go out into different work environments and earn a living to support my family.
“Without the skills and experience I gained from my apprenticeship I wouldn’t have become an Operations Manager. I have the skills and knowledge to help the people I work with.
“To carry out my role as a youth worker one of the criteria was you needed a trade background, to become an AMO I needed construction skills to become an Operation manager I required construction knowledge. The only reason I was able to work in these different roles is because of the apprenticeship I did.”
Last year Cambria Maintenance Services took on 16 apprentices across Wales and our apprentices are an important and valued part of the workforce at the Wales & West Housing Group.
Carly Hodson, Career Development Manager at Wales & West Housing, said: “It’s great to hear about the career paths of current staff, showing just how valuable an apprenticeship can be and the options and opportunities they provide.
“Their experience and knowledge is now being passed on to our current apprentices through our Grow Our Own programme, which is focused on equipping all of our trainees – including our apprentices – to develop the right knowledge, attitude and practical skills needed to succeed for future careers.”
Visit our apprenticeships website to find out more or email firstname.lastname@example.org