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From Income Officer to Apprentice Plumber of the Year

With the country on the brink of an ‘alarming skills shortage’, according to the UK Trade Skills Index, Bradford based Incommunities is taking matters into their own hands by training the next generation of skilled trades people.
2. Helen Chapman, Head of People Experience at Incommunities, with plumbing apprentice of the year Shauna Bramham

After a break in apprentice recruitment following Covid, the social and affordable housing provider is in the process of recruiting the next cohort of apprentices, with six roles on offer.

The roles cover everything from property maintenance, grounds maintenance and cleaning operatives, all will finish with an NVQ level qualification in their chosen trade.

One of the successes of the housing association’s apprenticeship programme is Shauna Bramham, from Baildon, Bradford, who has just been named plumbing apprentice of the year by Bradford College.

After 18 years as an Income Officer at Incommunities, Shauna decided to retrain and learn on the job to become a fully qualified plumber.

Speaking of her apprenticeship journey, Shauna said: “I really fancied doing a practical job, I wanted to learn skills that would help me to make a difference in people’s homes.

“I’m coming to the end of my apprenticeship, and I can wholeheartedly say that it has been a brilliant experience. The support that I have received from my mentors and colleagues across the organisation has been invaluable, from helping me decide on my chosen path, to the on-the-job training. I also receive lovely feedback from customers on a daily basis, they are all pleasantly surprised to see a female plumber arrive at their home.

“The work is varied and challenging, no day is the same. When I look back on my development over the four year’s I’m so proud of what I have achieved. On my first day as an apprentice, I was sealing around a bath with silicon and now I’m doing full boiler installs with the help of my mentors – it’s been immense.”

Danny Halligan, Apprenticeship and Skills Officer at Incommunities, said: “Apprenticeships provide a great foundation for a practical career, a chance to earn while you learn, with the support of a mentor. For us as an organisation, they are a fantastic way to address a labour and skills shortage, a great way of giving back to the community that we serve.

“I would estimate that 95% of the people who have gone through our apprentice programme over the last 18 years are from the Bradford district.”

Helen Chapman, Head of People Experience at Incommunities, said: “Shauna’s story is a great example of how apprenticeships aren’t just for young people straight from school, they offer an opportunity to retrain and take a different career path.

“We are incredibly proud of Shauna’s achievements over the last four years, her positive attitude, hunger to learn and natural rapport with our customers is what led to her nomination of plumber of the year, and for her to receive this accolade is the icing on the cake.”

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