Young apprentice fulfils dream to become a plumber after being made redundant

As we mark National Apprenticeship Week (7 to 13 February 2022), 22-year-old Harry Dewland from Weymouth in Dorset is happy to be one of the 156,500* apprentices who completed their qualifications during 2020/21, despite the challenges of COVID-19. But last year, Harry thought his dreams of qualifying to be a plumber were in tatters until local housing association, Aster Group stepped in.

Apprentice Harry was working for a small building firm and studying to become a plumber with Weymouth College, but when the pandemic hit, he was made redundant. It meant that Harry was faced with being unable to finish his apprenticeship and all his hard work would have gone to waste.

When Aster heard of his plight, Harry was invited onto the housing associations apprentice programme so that he could finish his apprenticeship and gain his qualification. 

For Harry, it was a relief. He said: “As I was no longer working, I could not get the evidence I needed for my plumbing portfolio. My course had a deadline, and I would have been removed and have to start again.

“I contacted a number of businesses to see if anyone could help and Aster was the only one that got back to me. I was very close to giving up at that point, but Aster have been very supportive and happy to help me complete my course. I was so happy when I completed the last job on my portfolio and able to qualify as a plumber.”

Harry is now a permanent part of the Aster team. 

Gary Hamilton, team leader at Aster, said; “Harry joined the team and settled in very quickly, displaying a positive attitude. It was a real pleasure to support him in completing those last few tasks to finish his portfolio and qualification.

“With Harry’s plumbing knowledge, his enthusiasm to learn new skills and commitment to provide great customer service, he is a fantastic addition to the team.”

Aster currently has 37 apprentices studying for a qualification and 78 employees using the apprenticeship levy funding to upskill in their chosen career.

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships, which takes place across England. It showcases how apprenticeships have helped employers of all sizes and sectors, and people of all ages and backgrounds.

For further information about Aster Group and its apprentice programme, visit


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