Adult improvers in Basingstoke are rebuilding their careers by taking part in an apprenticeship.
Kimberley Wheatland, 29, and Harry Eagles, 24, were among 100 applicants who applied for a place on Sovereign Housing Association’s Building for Future pilot, launched earlier this year.
The adult improver apprentices will receive on the job training as tradespeople complete relevant qualifications over a 30-month period.
The innovative apprenticeship scheme is aimed at women and older people looking for a change of career direction, rather than school leavers.
Trades such as plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work are on offer to participants, as well as positions within the customer service team.
Kimberley, who is training as a carpenter, said: “My partner and I were struggling to have kids and that took over everything, I couldn’t find a way past it.
“The only thing that cheered me up was working with wood. I built a shed with windows and skylights from scratch just so that I could use my hands.”
Kimberley had been out of work for three years before Sovereign took a chance on her.
She added: “This job means the world to me and my partner. It’s given me a new focus.
“Sovereign has been great, I’m learning everything by doing it hands on, and I’m bettering myself. If other women follow in my footsteps, then that’s even better.”
If Kimberley and Harry, training as a plumber, complete the course, they will be offered a job.
Harry said: “I’d always wanted to work in a trade. To show how passionate I was about becoming a plumber I took pictures of the bathroom installation I’d completed at home along to my interview.
“I told the team I’d taught myself by watching YouTube videos and talked through how I’d made my decisions at each stage of the process.”
Operations director Liane Sheppard said: “We need the best people to deliver services to our customers and to do that we’re happy to challenge the norm and start to do things differently as a new organisation.”