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Alex Hutchinson a North Star staff member

Bright and talented young people are vital to the long-term success and sustainability of Tees Valley’s economy. This is why North Star Housing Group is so committed to apprenticeships.

North Star is an award-winning employer of choice and their approach to people is different to most organisations. They have high levels of staff engagement because they invest in their development and encourage people to get involved.

Angela Lockwood, Chief Executive at North Star said:

“The combination of experienced staff, who have finely honed their skills over many years, and apprentices with raw talent who are eager to learn, means we have an increasingly diverse workforce. We think that this is essential given the continuously evolving nature of our sector and the expectations of our customers. Bringing young people into our organisation gives us a different perspective on the issues that they face, and in turn, they bring a different perspective to tackling the issues that we and our customers face.

“Increasing the number of apprentices in our organisation has definitely had a positive impact on the way that we work, and given lots of young people the chance to take their first steps in what we hope will be long and successful careers. Whilst we cannot guarantee that our apprentices will secure permanent work with North Star, all of our apprentices have gone on to secure permanent jobs, within their chosen field, and are clear that their experiences with us has helped them to do this.”

Alex Hutchinson at the North Star offices

One apprentice that did secure a permanent job within North Star is Alex Hutchinson. Alex embarked upon her apprenticeship journey after leaving school and struggling to choose which career path to take. “When I left school I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I tried the college route but I always knew deep down this wasn’t the direction I wanted to take. By the time I found the apprenticeship at North Star I was 22, and was worried that I wouldn’t be considered, that I was too old by this point for an apprenticeship. North Star has been fantastic and supported me every step of the way, from my initial interview, to my ongoing development.

“Being part of the North Star apprenticeship programme meant that I had access to a range of opportunities; learning and working at the same time – I’ve gained a whole host of new skills, knowledge and experience. I’ve received support, guidance and advice, but also get the chance to receive real high quality training and personal development opportunities.

“North Star has really invested in me, my growth and development. I’ve now been in my current full-time role for a year and North Star’s commitment to its staff will always continue to get the best out of everyone.”

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) recently launched ‘New to Work’ guidance for young people to help ensure they know their rights and responsibilities at work. North Star’s apprentice offer goes above and beyond the new Acas code, with a solid commitment to providing quality placements that support young people to develop skills that will help them in their future quest for work. North Star’s approach is designed to enable apprentices to secure permanent or longer term employment, either within North Star or external organisations.

North Star believes that recruiting and investing in apprentices is vital to help train a future generation of workers vital to the growth and wellbeing of the region. People who come up through the apprentice route are more likely to stay in work throughout their life, contribute taxes to boost the economy, be active in their community and live longer.