'You're never too old to learn'

Friday, 7th February 2020

At 56 years old, Helen Innes felt quite anxious about going back to work as a Customer Relationship Apprentice with Karbon.

Four months in, Helen is glad she didn’t let her age stand in the way and is convinced that ‘you’re never too old to learn’.

Helen, who lives in Stanley, started her apprenticeship with us in October 2019 after spending a number of years caring for her terminally ill father.

“When my father passed three years ago, I decided I wanted to get back into work but I found that being that bit older always proved detrimental to my job search.

“When I saw the apprenticeship roles with Karbon I was keen to apply. I have spent most of my career working in banks and fancied a new challenge, and the idea of being able to gain a qualification whilst working and earning was really appealing.

“As my first day loomed, I did feel quite anxious about starting. Having been out of work for a while, and out of education for even longer, I was nervous about taking the step, but so far it’s been a great experience.

“The fact that the position is an apprenticeship has been really good for me, as it’s helped ease me into the role.

“Alongside our studies we move through different areas of the business at a steady pace. I’ve not felt rushed and feel like I’ve always had the time to really embed what I’ve learnt and therefore feel confident in what I’m doing.”

Helen was part of our latest intake of apprentices, where all positions were made available exclusively to those living in Karbon households.

“When I saw that Karbon was keeping the apprentice opportunities exclusively for its customers I was really impressed. Being a bit older may have been detrimental to me in an open selection process, but Karbon made it really clear that all the positions were open to all ages which boosted my confidence in applying.

“I may not be able to do things as quick as the younger ones, but there’s often times when I know my age is to my advantage. I often come across scenarios that I have dealt with before, either in my own life or in other roles I’ve had. I can relate to them and provide support where someone younger may struggle.

“By offering me the position Karbon has acknowledged that my life skills and years of experience make me worthy of the position, and it’s a fantastic feeling to know your employer backs you.”

Our 2019 apprenticeship intake welcomed 11 new colleagues to the organisation, providing learning and development opportunities in teams including property services, housing management and central services, such as customer relations, finance and communications.

Find out more about Karbon’s apprenticeship programme here