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19 November 2015

Think housing, think employment - build a career for life!

Community Housing Cymru (CHC) is today (19 November) launching its first Welsh Apprentice Challenge. The challenge will offer 15 apprentices, nominated from housing associations across Wales, the opportunity to develop a campaign to recruit more young people into a career in housing.

Working in teams of five and supported by a mentor, each team will research, develop and present their ideas on how they would encourage other young people to ‘think career – think housing’.

Conference delegates will vote for their favourite campaign idea and the overall Welsh Apprentice champions will be awarded a certificate for their efforts by Julie James AM, Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology.

The Welsh housing sector is a major employer in Wales. Research by the Welsh Economy Research Unit (WERU), commissioned by CHC, found that the sector employed 8,800 full time equivalent employees in 2014/15. For every one person directly employed by the sector, almost two other jobs are supported in the Welsh economy.

In addition to full time employment, housing associations are continuing to invest in apprenticeship and employment support opportunities, having invested £2.1m in the last financial year. But the sector is still not seen as a career of choice for many young people.

CHC Group Chief Executive, Stuart Ropke, said: “There is sometimes a perception that housing offers limited vocational routes. The Welsh Apprentice Challenge is a first for us and provides a real opportunity to showcase some of the amazing young talent working in the sector and the vast opportunities available.

The housing sector is home to an array of opportunities ranging from traditional trade roles such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters to wider areas such as HR, IT, accountancy, community engagement and marketing, to name a few.”

Stuart added: “A career in housing can be both challenging and rewarding and we want to attract and retain the very best young talent possible to ensure that we continue to provide the best service possible in communities across Wales.”

One of the apprentices taking part in the challenge is Emily Jones of Cartrefi Conwy. Since joining Cartrefi Conwy as a Modern Apprentice, she has had fantastic reviews from colleagues across the business. Emily said: “I am extremely proud to have been chosen to represent Cartrefi Conwy in the challenge from the apprentices employed, and I’ll be doing my very best to promote the benefits of working as an apprentice during the challenge.”

Demi Stephenson, fellow apprentice challenger, secured her job as an electrician with Cadwyn Housing Association after working full time voluntarily for several months. Cadwyn tenants who have benefited from Demi’s electrical skills have praised her great all-round attitude and have called her a positive role model for other young women.

The Welsh Apprentice Challenge is being supported by TSW Training and The Prince’s Trust. The Prince’s Trust is offering all apprentices who take part in the challenge a free training course on ‘Enterprise: Selling You’.