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In light of National Apprenticeship Week (5th to 11th February), Leicestershire developer David Wilson Homes has shared the journeys of two promising apprentices.

Elizabeth Fenlon and Ella Bird, who work at the housebuilder’s regional head office in Coalville, are laying the foundations for a bright future in the industry and have commended apprenticeships as the key to advancing in their careers.

Elizabeth, a 22-year-old trainee land buyer apprentice, is currently enrolled in Sheffield Hallam University pursuing a BSc Real Estate degree through a block release apprenticeship programme.

She said: “I had previously worked as an estate agent and have always had an interest in property.

“The agency I worked for did sales for very small new housing developments, and I found the different stages of the construction process super interesting.

“I had explored other companies and their trainee schemes but the pathway at David Wilson Homes offered much better opportunities, the main one being that the RICS accreditation was included in the apprenticeship alongside the degree programme.

“Should I have completed this level of education through a more conventional route, it would’ve taken the same amount of time yet I would have had no experience, so I believe I will be able to advance in my career at a faster rate through the apprenticeship.”

Elizabeth has already acquired valuable skills during her time as an apprentice with David Wilson Homes and has commended the support network around her.

She said: “There is a lot of support within the business for all employees, especially graduates and apprentices. I have a specific mentor who supports all of my learning and provides guidance for my university work as well as my professional development.

“The structure of the training allows you to gain a wider understanding of the whole business rather than it being specific to your role and department.

“Looking to the future, I will have hopefully gained enough experience to be able to lead a development team and oversee land transactions. This is something I look forward to.”

Offering her advice to those considering an apprenticeship in housebuilding, Elizabeth added: “Say yes to every opportunity you’re offered. Be willing to help, even on the jobs you’re not looking forward to, and it will pay off in the end!”

In addition to Elizabeth’s success story, Ella, a 19-year-old trainee quantity surveyor in the commercial department has great aspirations within the company.

Ella is currently in her second year of the CertHE Professional Practice in Residential Development and Quantity Surveying at Sheffield Hallam University, and is completing a degree apprenticeship with David Wilson Homes.

She splits her time between working at the regional office and working on site at Thorpebury in the Limes in Leicester. Ella aspires one day to become a senior quantity surveyor.

She said: “During sixth form, I had attended many careers evenings and events, and I was always drawn to the construction industry as it sparked my interest the most. I wanted to go onto a degree apprenticeship programme, and this one with David Wilson Homes ticked all of the boxes.

“I was especially drawn to the degree apprenticeship route, as I was not interested in full time university and knew I wanted to get my foot in the door of the working world at a young age, whilst achieving the degree in the end.

“I now get to work in a pleasant environment with day-to-day variety, and David Wilson Homes also offers several employee benefits that I don’t believe you could find anywhere else. The team values its staff, and many members of staff have held over a decade of long service here, which really drew me to the company originally.”

When asked about why she would recommend going down the path of an apprenticeship, Ella said: “Personally, I believe that school and sixth form does not promote apprenticeships enough.

“Having regular, hands-on experience in your field of work, as well as earning whilst learning and starting your career, offers more than a degree alone could, in my eyes. Not to mention the fact that you are earning while you learn and possess no student debt at the end of the course.

“I believe that degree apprenticeships give you a huge step up in career progression.”

To learn more about the career opportunities available with David Wilson Homes, visit the website at Barratt Careers.

For more information on any of the homebuilder’s developments across the county, visit the website at David Wilson Homes in Leicestershire.