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Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) is looking to redress the balance of the economic impacts of the pandemic on young people, by appointing apprentices in several roles, from warehousing to customer service.

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the economy, with many people facing reduced incomes as businesses struggle to survive in such uncertain times.

Sadly, younger people have been amongst those hit hardest. Redundancy rates are five times those of last year, as businesses that typically employ a large number of young people, such as hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment, continue to see job losses.

YHN manages over 26,000 properties in Newcastle on behalf of Newcastle City Council. Ever determined to help its customers into work, it isn’t letting a pandemic stop it from recruiting its next generation of employees, and especially not during National Apprenticeship Week.

Applications are now open for the following roles; warehouse apprentice, Ostara responder apprentice (YHN’s telecare service for vulnerable people), manufacturing and production apprentice, customer service apprentice and contact centre apprentice with job details for all available here.

The midst of a global pandemic is a strange time for anyone to start a new job, but it didn’t stop current business administration apprentice, Rachel Nealings, from taking full advantage of the opportunity.

Rachel is a single parent with a four-year-old daughter, she had previously worked at a private nursery, but was looking for a change of career direction. As a customer of YHN’s, she was aware of the apprenticeships they offered, and intrigued by the many roles on offer. Sadly, she missed a letter about the induction day a couple of years ago, but reapplied and was successful in securing a position in March 2020.

Rachel said: “I was really excited by the prospect of my apprenticeship as I was looking to get into youth work and was due to be placed with a team responsible for managing other apprentices working in the repairs and construction service.

“I was geared up to start on March 30, but the world obviously changed a little just before that!

“Despite some delays while YHN reacted to the announcements and considered how they would deliver their services, they were still able to offer me an apprenticeship. I was a little disappointed it wasn’t in the team we’d initially planned, but I’m helping other people who want to get into YHN’s work programmes for customers now, so it’s a rewarding and worthwhile role.

“My start date was pushed back so that I was able to meet some of my team members when the restrictions eased over the summer, and I was given a really warm welcome. I had help with IT equipment, getting used to systems and understanding my role, and always felt safe and comfortable. When things got stricter in the autumn, I was given a laptop so I could work from home.

“It has been challenging at times. Like most people working in their home environment I’ve experimented with sitting in every part of my house and I miss the interactions I would’ve had in the office environment. The periods where I wasn’t able to get childcare were particularly difficult; it’s hard to help young children understand the different restrictions and it has been tiring balancing everything.

“Having said that, I’m so pleased I applied for the apprenticeship. My team and manager have been extremely supportive, and they understand how hard it can be to juggle work and home life now as they’re doing the same too. I have loved every minute so far and have had so much encouragement from my colleagues.

“I’ve already recommended the programme to a few people and I’d definitely suggest anyone who’s interested contacts the team to find out more – they’re really friendly!”.

Jen Vinton, YHN’s Director of Customer Services, said: “We’ve ran numerous successful employment programmes for our customers for years now, but they feel more necessary than ever this year. “Despite some of the curveballs the pandemic has thrown at us as a business, we’ve been absolutely determined to continue providing as much employment support as possible, particularly to younger people who may be struggling more than most.

“Working as an apprentice with us could provide the first step on your career path or give you an opportunity to try something new. Even if you’ve never considered an apprenticeship before, this is a great way for you to do a paid job while also getting some really valuable experience for your CV and gaining qualifications.

“Don’t worry if you are not sure which role you would like to apply for – if we think you are suitable for a role with us, we will talk to you about where you might be a good fit. Please just contact us if you’re interested, we’d love to hear from you!”

Anyone interested should contact YHN’s Employability Team for more information and an application pack. They can be reached by phone at 07814 753 088 or by email to employabilityteam@yhn.org.uk

The deadline for applications is midnight on Thursday 18 February 2021. As part of the recruitment process priority will be given to applicants who live in a YHN managed property. Further information about all of YHN’s employment and training programmes for customers is available here.