The new recruits are all from Bradford. They join the 16 current Incommunities apprentices who are at various stages of their 2 to 4-year apprenticeships, spending the week split between learning ‘on-the-job’ skills with time at either Leeds College of Building, Bradford College, and most recently, Shipley College.
Emma Thompson, from Wibsey, who is the first ever Horticultural apprentice at Incommunities, said: “I’m not your typical apprentice! I’m not a school leaver, I’m 33 and have been a dental nurse for the last 7-years, but my real passion has always been gardening. So, when I decided to make the leap and look for a new job, I kept my options open and looked into less traditional routes.
“When I saw the ad for the horticultural apprentice, I thought it was too good to be true. I never expected to get the job!
“I’m now loving what I’m doing, gaining knowledge and skills – even learning about soil pH levels and, at the minute I have to learn the Latin names for 20 UK plants – every day is different.
“Overall, the thing I’m enjoying the most is seeing the difference that our work makes to people living in the community.”
With a workforce of more than 900, Incommunities is one of Bradford’s biggest employers. They provide more than 22,000 social housing homes across the district, and have their own building services team, horticultural specialists, and teams of estate cleaners.
In addition to their trade NVQs, this year’s six apprentices will be doing some extra training in customer services skills, as part of an NVQ at Shipley College.
Sara Sheard, Executive Director of Business Operations at Incommunities, said: “The volume and standard of applications for this year’s apprentices was outstanding. Apprenticeships provide such valuable opportunities for everyone involved. We are delighted that this year we’ve been able to expand our apprentice scheme to include horticultural and cleaning.
“The new recruits all demonstrated their desire and commitment, to not only develop their practical skills, but also to build on their interpersonal skills which will be hugely beneficial when they’re communicating with our customers.”
Harry Singleton from Idle, who is one of four new apprentice property maintenance operatives starting this year, said: “I wanted to do an apprenticeship because of the combination of developing practical skills and learning at the same time, plus getting paid.
“I was on another apprentice scheme before starting at Incommunities, but I left because it didn’t offer me enough variety of work. Since starting here, I have already been able to try plastering, joinery, painting and decorating – all with the support of my manager. And, the great thing is, I know there is so much more to come.”
Apprenticeship programmess usually start in August/ September. Anyone interested in apprenticeship opportunities should contact their local college.