Young adults across the South are being given the opportunity to develop a career with housing association, Aster Group.

One of the business’ apprentices, Chloe Blaken, 17, is six months into an 18-month apprenticeship in the Aster customer services team.

After leaving school, Chloe decided that college wasn’t the right path for her and began considering alternatives. She came across Aster’s website and discovered that she had the qualifications needed to apply for a customer services apprenticeship role (Maths and English GCSE grade C or above) and decided to go for it.

Alongside her apprenticeship, Chloe studies one day a week at Weston College to achieve an intermediate customer service practitioner qualification.

Of her experience so far, Chloe said: “I absolutely love the variety of work I’ve been able to do so far. I’ve had the opportunity to shadow lots of teams which helps me learn more about the business but also consider future roles I’d be interested in.

“I’d definitely recommend doing an apprenticeship. I’m earning whilst learning which feels like I’ve kick started my career sooner than I would have if I’d done two years at college first. It also means I have my weekends free and have been able to start saving so I can pay for driving lessons sooner than if I had gone to college.

“I can see myself staying in the contact centre for a while once I’ve completed the qualification and will then most likely look at other roles across Aster.”

Karin Gibbs-Warne, people and organisational development lead at Aster said: “Our apprenticeship scheme is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn new skills and to get some real hands-on experience.

“Chloe is a great example of how apprenticeships give young people the chance to start out in a career they are really interested in.”

Aster, which employs 1,300 people from Cornwall to Hampshire, has provided 25 apprenticeships in the last year. Ranging from customer services, business administration and skilled trades such as electrical and plumbing.

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 4-8 March. For more information about careers with Aster, including apprenticeship opportunities, visit Aster Group’s website.