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Bromford offers six new apprenticeship positions

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Leading social business bucks unemployment trend

Bromford, a leading provider of affordable housing and support services in the Midlands, announces six new 12-month apprenticeships.

The successful candidates are Bromford customers who have been recruited as part of the organisation’s Opportunities 4 Employment (O4E) scheme. They have each successfully completed six-month paid work placements where they have been able to learn new skills and gain experience whilst being supported to develop personal and employability skills in the workplace.

Sarah Terry, Customer Development Manager at Bromford, said: "We believe in our customers' potential and feel we are ideally placed to provide opportunities to help them from unemployment into work and be the best they can be. There are thousands out of work who are desperate to get a job. They may lack confidence and skills but when given the chance they don't just survive the work experience but actually thrive in it.

"We are delighted that six people have now been awarded apprenticeships. Our aim is to scale up the programme to reach even more customers and help employers fill their vacancies with local 'job ready' people. As such, we’d be interested to hear from employers who would like to be involved in the scheme.”


DSC_5337Before O4E, Chai Podins, aged 27 from Wolverhampton, was in and out of short-term work with no real prospects for almost a decade. Having left school without qualifications after falling in with a bad crowd, he had gone on to college and gained certificates in business administration and door supervision but wanted to achieve more.

Today he is working as assistant to Bromford's innovation coach. Chai says: "When I came to Bromford I thought 'wow' this is me. I am learning new things and getting more confidence. My life's completely different now. I'm doing something I really like and can see a change in myself every day. I go home with positive things to say. I was lost for the past ten years but I've found myself and for the first time in my life I can look forward with real ambition." 

“Now I’ve got the apprenticeship, I can plan for the future. I want to help people and would love to be a motivational speaker one day. I want to support people in any way I can.”

Hear from Chai

DSC_5339Tracey Smart, aged 46 from Lichfield, worked for 27 years in social services before becoming ill for two years and being diagnosed with ME. Once a happy, sociable person she lost confidence and couldn't face leaving the house. She says: "I was having an horrendous time and had no support from my work. I simply couldn't function.

"When the O4E opportunity came up, I decided to give it a go and have really enjoyed my six months providing administrative support to our Staffordshire Neighbourhood team. When my placement came to an end, I got it into my head that I was leaving and I was considering voluntary work but that all changed within a day and I am delighted to say I am now customer advisor for the housing and customer service team.

“I don’t think I can put into words what it means. It still hasn’t hit me, I feel I’m on cloud nine. My family are so proud of me. Bromford is opening doors for me and I’m embracing life again. Last night I got on my bike for the first time in three years and cycled nine miles!”

Hear from Tracey

DSC_5338Charlotte Holder, aged 40 from Lichfield had lost her confidence having taken time out of work to raise her family after previously working as a child minder. Through Connect, Bromford's online social networking site for jobs and skills, she was made aware of opportunities and attended a couple of work clubs.

She is now working as an investment planning administration assistant and says: "O4E has given me confidence and opportunities. It encourages you to be a better person in a better place."

“I’m now doing things I didn’t think I was capable of and it’s great to challenge yourself.”


DSC_5344Tom Lawson, aged 19 from Cannock, was constantly looking for work in accounts after completing a college course at the end of June last year. Despite all his efforts he only had one interview so O4E has, he says, "allowed me to get my foot in the door into a career I have been chasing after for a while."

Tom now works in accounts in the asset management team. Tom says: "This allows me to get some valuable experience at a company the size of Bromford which is needed for the career path that I am after. I have also developed general employability skills which I could pretty much take into any other job: communication, organisation and time-keeping skills. In all honesty, if it weren't for this opportunity I'm not sure what I would be doing now, whether I would be in work or not and whether the work I would have got would have contributed to the career in accounts that I want."

“I felt relieved when I got the apprenticeship. Bromford’s a great place to work. I actually enjoy going to work because it’s an organisation that really helps people.”

DSC_5343Zane Ratcliffe, aged 24 from Wolverhampton, had been unsuccessful the first time he had applied for the O4E scheme last year. His confidence was at an all time low, made worse by personal problems he was faced with. Things have now turned around for him as he persisted and got onto the scheme this year. "I'm evidence that if at first you don't succeed, try again!" he says. Zane made the most of other help from Bromford's work clubs in the interim and began volunteering with the Co-Op which turned into a full-time job. However, he says: "Even though I had a job, I knew I really wanted an office job and am now a finance officer at Bromford. It's a great opportunity and everyone here is so friendly. My confidence is back and I am in a much happier place."

“I wasn’t expecting to get the apprenticeship so it was a nice surprise. It’s hard to get work in today’s climate and I’m really happy here. I’ll be continuing to learn new things as part my apprenticeship so there’s more opportunity to learn.


DSC_5348Terry Barron, aged 24 from Cirencester, came to work with Bromford's investment and asset management team based in Cirencester last summer. Terry is a plasterer and general tradesman and had been struggling to find work locally. Terry worked with the asset team for some months before offering his services to help Bromford's repairs teams when they were busy. Terry's qualifications along with his dedication and hard work have meant that he has become a valuable member of the team. Terry told us: "All I want is a chance to work and show people what I can do. I can turn my hand to most things but my passion is being out and about and getting my hands dirty. Bromford has given me chance to show what I can do and I'm really grateful."