During National Apprenticeship Week (4-9 March) we announced that our intake of apprentices had doubled in the last year. This is something we’re really proud of and we’re keen to continue developing our apprenticeship programme to support those who decide college or university isn’t for them.

Claire Seymour, Hampshire operational manager, is a great example of someone who joined us as an apprentice and has gone on to form a successful career with us. From neighbourhood officer to operational manager, she shares her story below:

"I had been in the financial services sector for a number of years since leaving college at 17 and graduated with a BSc Hons in Public Services as a mature student in 2013 - who knew at the age of 27 I was mature?!

"I was gearing towards a role in the criminal justice system in line with my voluntary work as a police special and victim support however I came across a job advert for a trainee neighbourhood officer apprenticeship in Dorset and when I read the job specification I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought about this as a career choice before.

"I had been brought up in social housing so this wasn’t a sector I was unfamiliar with. I applied for the apprenticeship and was lucky enough to be offered the role and it didn’t disappoint. I was able to learn about all areas of the business, gain a CIH qualification and become involved in group wide projects.

"I have had many opportunities along the way by putting myself forward to further enhance my knowledge and work with like-minded people who want to come to work to make a difference.

"I soon progressed on to have my own patch as a neighbourhood officer covering Southampton, then an opportunity came to become a senior neighbourhood officer and by 2015 I was successful in securing the role as ASB Manager for Dorset and Hampshire. This role is varied, challenging and invaluable to our communities.

"Going for the apprenticeship was the best career decision I have made."