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National Apprenticeship Week - Haydn Clark

National Apprenticeship Week - Haydn Clark

I’ve fallen into a career I love

In 2010, 17 year old Haydn Clark from Stanley became the first Housing Apprentice in the North East.

Haydn wasn’t planning on working in Housing when he came for an interview. But thanks to a happy accident, he’s developed a career and, 14 years later, is now a Housing Officer at Karbon Homes and loves it.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we caught up with Haydn to find out about his apprenticeship and how it gave him important life experience.

Can you tell us how you started working in housing?

I left school and went to college to do an engineering course. At the time there weren’t many apprenticeship opportunities available. However, an opportunity came up at Derwentside Homes and I was invited for an interview.

I initially came thinking it was for a plumbing or electrical apprenticeship. A few questions into the interview they realised there had been a mix up and explained to me that the role was for a Housing apprenticeship. I decided to interview for that instead. I stood up, walked out of the room, came back in again, shook everyone’s hands and started again.

I didn’t think they would consider me, but I think the confidence I displayed and the fact I could think on my feet meant that they thought I had the right character for the job, and they offered me the role.

How did the apprenticeship help shape you and your career?

I was the first Housing Apprentice in the North East. Up until 2010 there had never been a traditional apprenticeship in housing with a housing specific qualification available.

They created a training plan where I was able to work in different parts of the business, such as the Customer Relationship Team and the Repairs and Maintenance Team. I spent six months getting to learn how the organisation works and an understanding of the kind of customer queries we support.

By the end of those six months, I had a much better understanding of the business and everyone’s roles.

The apprenticeship also gave me the opportunity Level 2 and 3 qualification and a degree in housing, so by the end I was a qualified housing professional.

What do you think is the most important part of your career development?

The people. We work to support people’s lives and homes, so the more information and experience you have working with them and with other housing officers the easier it is to support customers.

Every day is different in this job and there will regularly be scenarios you’ve not come across before, so being able to utilise the experience of other housing professionals is crucial.

While the courses and qualifications I’ve been able to do have been extremely beneficial, the life experience you get and that the people you work with are probably the most crucial part.

You’ve now been in housing for 14 years. What does your current role involve?

We’ve recently brought together teams from across Karbon to create one housing service. This means that we’re now focusing on smaller geographical areas so we can be more on hand whenever you need us.

As a Housing Officer, I manage a small patch of around 400-450 properties. You’re there to sustain the tenancies and ensure the customer in the property has the best opportunity to succeed in their tenancy. We get the best for everyone’s individual needs by providing support where they need it. We also manage the estates, making sure they are in good condition and allocating empty homes.

I think the work we do at Karbon is important and I love that my role involves talking to people. You get a lot of job satisfaction out of helping people.

Why would you recommend the apprenticeship scheme to Karbon customers?

It’s a great way of getting life experience. I think if I walked out of that interview and never walked back in, I would have still been looking for an apprenticeship and I wouldn’t have been able to develop this 14 year career in housing.

If I’d completed my engineering qualification, I would have all the technical knowledge but I wouldn’t have had the life experience.

Getting up and coming to work gave me real world experience and that’s something you can’t really put a price on – you develop character.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) 2024 is the 17th annual celebration of apprenticeships.

The week brings together everyone passionate about apprenticeships to celebrate the value, benefit and opportunity that they bring.

You can find out more about apprenticeships at Karbon Homes by visiting the careers section of our website.

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7 February 2024

Careers ,

Haydn Clark holding a copy of the magazine article about his housing apprenticeship

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