How ONE Haverhill is helping youngsters get into work

Case study: Director of Morris Armitage Chris Jai-Bahadur and apprentice Denise Eady.
Case study: Director of Morris Armitage Chris Jai-Bahadur and apprentice Denise Eady.

As part of ONE Haverhill’s work on the Haverhill Community Budget a youth skills manager was appointed in 2013 to work with colleges and businesses in the town to set up more apprenticeships and work experience places for our young people. Their goal is to encourage local businesses to take on local home-grown talent and enable more young people to stay in the town by offering apprenticeships. Apprenticeships help young people learn a trade on the job while being paid.

In the countdown to National Apprenticeships Week (March 3 - 7) and the launch of ONE Haverhill’s Keep Young Talent in Haverhill Campaign, we take a look at how apprentices are helping Haverhill firms to grow and the youngsters looking for their first step on the career ladder.

When Danielle Eady from Hundon left college 18 months ago she had no idea what she wanted to do for a living but an apprenticeship at an independent estate agent in Haverhill has not only given her a career and training but she has just been promoted.

Danielle, 19, left Samuel Ward Academy and went to West Suffolk College for two years to do Sport. After leaving college she registered with the Job Centre but did not know which path she wanted to pursue. The Job Centre told her about an apprenticeship at Morris Armitage estate agent in Haverhill, run by husband and wife team Chris and Beckie Jai-Bahadur

Morris Armitage run an apprenticeship scheme across their branches in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire at offices in Newmarket, Burwell, Downham Market, Cambridge, Kings Lynn and very soon Bury St Edmunds.

New recruits are taken on board as Trainee Agents and are taught all aspects of the business including lettings, sales, valuations, and negotiations. The apprentices work towards NVQs while they are learning the ropes on the job. Danielle is one of three apprentices at Morris Armitage’ Haverhill office with former Castle Manor students Kathryn Suffell, 19, and Luke Jenkins, 18.

Chris said: “Unlike other agents, we took the approach that we wanted our apprentices to learn the whole business not just one aspect. Very often you see companies recruiting for trainee negotiators or trainee sales agents. We think it is valuable to young people and for our business for them to be taught and all aspects of the business.”

The scheme has been so successful at Morris Armitage that three former trainees who started at the Newmarket branch were offered the opportunity to become Directors and Partners and went on to set up the now successful Cambridge office.

For Danielle, the apprenticeship has meant that she has learnt the property business from the bottom up and learned a valuable profession while being paid and remaining in her hometown. She has gained her NVQ 3 and NVQ 2 and just been promoted to Assistant Lettings Manager.

She said: “I didn’t have a clue where to start when I left college and joining Morris Armitage has given me a career and I haven’t had to leave home. I think there are lots of benefits to businesses too as we can bring enthusiasm and fun to the company. There’s an eagerness to learn especially when you are starting from the beginning as I was.”

For Morris Armitage, they reap the benefits of new young blood in the town, teaching them how they like to work as agents this has enabled them to grow their business with knowledgeable and experienced employees.

Chris added: “Having young people here reinvigorates the business and we learn as much from them as they do from us. For example, we have learned a lot about IT from Luke from what he was taught at Castle Manor. He has changed the way we work with spreadsheets and as a business benefit from what they know and have learnt at school or college, we can then incorporate these new initiatives in to the day to day running of our business.

There’s also an incentive for young people to stay and progress within the company. They know our business inside out and one of the aspects we pride ourselves on is that our staff are knowledgeable and professional. We know they are because of the comments we receive from our clients which shows that as a team we have worked well together from the beginning.”