Apprentice Gav Houghton is breaking the mould of a recent national housing survey and enjoying a new permanent position at Staffordshire-based Aspire Housing. 

A recent national survey by Inside Housing found that only 23% of apprentices are offered a role at the end of their two-year apprenticeship, and even less for women. Gav has certainly broken the mould by not only gaining a permanent position, but doing so before the end of her apprenticeship.  

After being referred to apprenticeship provider PM Training from Haywood Sixth Form, Gav started her journey on the Aspire Apprenticeship Scheme and quickly learn't key skills and behaviours for the workplace. Excelling in a number of areas she joined the Customer Excellence team and quickly gained the respect of her peers as someone showing all the signs of being an apprenticeship success.

Nearing the end of her two-year apprenticeship Gav was recommended by a colleague to apply for a permanent position as a Customer Excellence Advisor. Using the experience and training from her apprenticeship, along with tips and advice from her Mentors coaching, she impressed at the first and second stage of interviews and was offered the position.

Gav says: "It came as a surprise to me as I wasn't expecting to go for the role as I was still just an apprentice, I got encouraged to go for it by one of my colleagues and I'm so glad I did. It's great to be able to enjoy the benefits of a 29 hour contract."

The new role establishes Gav as a first point of contact for customers where she takes payments, offers advice, books repairs and more. Her supportive team are providing her with the capacity and time to complete her apprenticeship whilst working in the heart of the Aspire Housing Customer Excellence department.

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Lorna Lakin, Customer Excellence Team Leader, said: "We're really proud to have Gav in our team and it's great that she's secured a permanent position that supports the completion of her Housing NVQ."

I got encouraged to go for it by one of my colleagues and I'm so glad I did.

The Aspire Apprenticeship Scheme has supported more than 60 apprentices over the past three years and supporting young people in their careers is embedded within the business. Not only are Aspire part of The 5% Club, but a corporate objective to achieve a workforce where 10% are apprentices helps drive opportunities for employees to mentor.

Lorna continues: "We are proud to be offering a great support network to Gav which includes regular one to ones with her mentor Sarah Williams and monthly visits from her NVQ assessor at PM Training. With hard work and commitment Gav has proved herself worthy of a fantastic job role."

Gav continues: "At first I was nervous but as soon as I got into the role I got used to it very quickly. I love the team I work with, everyone is so supportive and it's rewarding to be able to help people."

With further training and mentoring Gav is now taking on more work out of her comfort zone with a programme of training including confidence building and online communication skills.

Lorna says: "Gav has always been a huge support to customers with online access and will now be able to develop these skills further by working with Live Chat and social media."

Gav is an example of why apprenticeships and effective training can lead to a successful career. 

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