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believe housing visits schools to talk about job opportunities for young people

One of the north east of England’s largest housing associations is helping to develop the workforce of the future by delivering careers sessions in schools across County Durham.


As a partner in Esh Construction’s employability programme Building My Skills, believe housing is showcasing the social housing sector and the opportunities it has to offer young people preparing to enter the world of work.


Inspiring students: Phil Hogg, Assistant Director of Repairs Operations at believe housing, and Bradley Taylor (foreground), an Apprentice Gas Fitter, speak to pupils at Parkside Academy in Willington as part of ESH Construction’s employability programme Building My Skills. Image: believe housing
Inspiring students: Phil Hogg, Assistant Director of Repairs Operations at believe housing, and Bradley Taylor, an Apprentice Gas Fitter, speak to pupils at Parkside Academy in Willington as part of ESH Construction’s employability programme Building My Skills. Image: believe housing

Last week Phil Hogg, Assistant Director of Repairs Operations, and Apprentice Gas Fitter, Bradley Taylor, spoke to students at Parkside Academy in Willington.

Phil said: “Social housing is a great sector, for me the biggest benefit is making a difference to people’s lives.


“I want to encourage young people to see how many positives there are to working in this sector and to recognise the wide variety of roles it offers.


“At believe housing we value attitude over aptitude because we can teach skills to someone if they want to learn, and we have a supportive team culture.


“Hopefully we inspire some of the students to think about a career in social housing.”


Bradley Taylor, apprentice gas fitter at work. Image: believe housing
Bradley Taylor, apprentice gas fitter at work. Image: believe housing

Bradley told the teenagers how he finds training on the job four days a week and attending Hartlepool College once a week.


The 22-year-old, from Sunderland, said: “School had pushed me towards university, and I was accepted to study biomedical science but, when it came to it, I just didn’t fancy it.


“At believe housing you get broad experience alongside a qualified mentor, help and support whenever you need it, it is fast paced, every day is different, you meet new people, and we have a great team.


“It isn’t easy talking to a room full of students and teachers, but I want them to know how many interesting and fulfilling opportunities there are working in the social housing sector.”


Phil, Bradley and Alan Scott, Assistant Director of Programme and Cyclical Delivery at believe housing, will hold similar sessions at The Academy at Shotton Hall, Greenfield Academy in Newton Aycliffe, and Ferryhill School later this month.


The Building My Skills initiative was launched in 2009 by North of England contractor, Esh Group, in partnership with Ryder Architecture and Arup.


Year nine to 12 students at participating schools attend four workshops, each delivered by a different employer from a wide range of sectors.

A total of 30 businesses from the construction and built environment, energy and utilities firms, IT, legal, marketing, sport and professional services industries are taking part this year.

Students can use a purpose-built app after each session to help them map out their own career aspirations and to stand out from the competition, with tips on presenting themselves online, on paper, and in person.

A proportion of the students who complete the workshops will be invited to a mock interview day hosted by the business partners at the home of Newcastle Eagles, the Vertu Motors Arena, in July.


Colleagues from believe housing’s Assets and Property Repairs Teams will take part and students may be invited to second interview opportunities, should businesses have opportunities available.

Darush Dodds, Corporate Affairs Director at Esh Group, said more than 5,000 students from 29 schools have taken part in the programme this year.


He said: “Building My Skills is specifically designed to make young people aware of the breadth of opportunities available across the region, change their perception of different industries and ‘lift the lid off’ local businesses by showcasing roles that many students don’t know exist.


“When we launched BMS in 2009, we had just five schools involved. Now, almost 15 years later, we’re on the verge of supporting our 60,000th student through the programme, all from different demographics.” 

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