As National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, we’re celebrating the achievements of our Peabody apprentices, and the positive impact apprenticeships are having on businesses across the country.

Despite progress being made in the fight against youth unemployment, the number of unemployed young people in London is still unacceptably high, with young Londoners two and a half times more likely to be out of a job than elsewhere.

Last year Peabody supported over 1,500 people into work or training, and delivered over 14,000 hours of community programmes in our neighbourhoods.  And we have a strong focus on apprenticeships.

Peabody invests over £150,000 a year to facilitate direct apprenticeships and last August we took on ten apprentices aged between 16 and 24, in various teams across the organisation. They’ve been working with us to gain valuable experience and the opportunity to study for an NVQ qualification.

Apprentices cropped                                          You're hired: Some of our apprentices 

There is an enormous opportunity for the sector to help scale up apprenticeships for our residents, given our capacity to build new homes. Using our supply chain we’re in the process of developing 600 new apprenticeships through our 8,000 home development pipeline over the next five years.  That is one apprentice for every 13 homes we deliver for London.

This will not only give young people the tools to develop their career but will also produce the next generation of skilled workers for the construction industry.  This will be essential, particularly if we are to deliver the new homes and infrastructure that London desperately needs. New research from The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors warns that skills shortages in the construction industry could threaten 27,000 projects a year by 2019.

The 15 largest housing associations in London have a development pipeline of 93,000 homes over the next ten years.  That means that the sector could have the capacity to create almost 7,000 apprenticeships in a decade.  This would change thousands of lives for the better over the next decade. 

An example of this can be seen in the progress of a young resident from our Pembury estate, who had been out of employment, education and training (NEET) for more than four years.  After attending one of our construction apprenticeship open days in May 2013, he joined our Pembury Pass programme, secured a bricklaying apprenticeship through our Ladder for London campaign, and 18 months later was shortlisted for a prestigious apprenticeship award backed by the Mayor of London.

He recently started an advanced apprenticeship post and now regularly trains new members of staff on site. He has also been mentoring students interested in construction, and supports those with behavioural difficulties to encourage them into apprenticeships.

This is the story of apprenticeships and the difference the housing sector can make to young lives.

Further information

Find out more about Peabody apprenticeships.