Housing and Apprenticeships - two of my passions

Date posted:
7th February 2022
2 minutes
young female looking at camera on her laptop
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This week we are celebrating National Apprenticeship week

As Deputy Group Chief Executive of Halton Housing and Chair of Riverside College this week brings together my two main passions in my professional life – housing and providing opportunities for young people. 

I’ve been Chair of Riverside College since July 2021, and a Board member for much longer. I am proud to be associated with such a high-performing College. In March 2020 we were rated as outstanding by Ofsted. A rating which recognised the tremendous efforts of the dedicated teaching and support staff, and the motivation and exemplary behaviour of the students. 

In December last year I had the pleasure of attending the College’s Apprenticeship of the Year Awards. The event was a celebration of the achievements and commitments demonstrated by the apprentices and employers. 

In my role at Halton Housing, I have championed the recruitment of apprentices into our business. Our target is to recruit at least 5% of our workforce as apprentices. We are aiming to have 15 apprentices employed in our business by 31st March 2023. We are well on our way to achieving our target. 

This week is an opportunity to recognise the fantastic contribution our apprentices make to our business. 

All successful people are there because someone gave them an opportunity. That is what we are aiming to do with our apprenticeship programme. 

Apprenticeships have changed dramatically over the past 10 years. There are now over 200 different apprenticeships programmes available in a variety of business areas at all levels, from entry level right through to a master’s degree. There literally is something for everyone.  

There is still some work to be done in educating schools, colleges, young people and their parents as to the benefits of an apprenticeship. I see far too often young people being shoehorned into university without considering apprenticeship opportunities. Only to find that in our modern world a qualification and theory-based knowledge is not enough to secure them a step on their chosen career path. Real life work experience coupled with the qualification and the personal qualities and skills an apprenticeship brings is often the better choice.  

Every one of our apprentices has their own story, their own reason why they find themselves here as a Halton Housing Apprentice. Their stories are inspiring.  

Each and every one of our apprentices has lived and thrived through a pandemic and remained fully committed and focussed on their apprenticeship.  

It is with immense pride that I look forward to spending time with our apprentices this week and to really see the day-to-day impact they have on our customers, their colleagues and the business as a whole. 

I just hope I can live up to their expectations. 

Written by

Neil McGrath

Neil leads the business services functions, growth, finance as well as our commercial arm, Open Door.

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