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Katie Fitzsimmons

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Meet Katie: outstanding apprentice of the year

Jo Armstrong

Written by Jo Armstrong, marketing adviser

Meet Katie, a Home Group customer and colleague, who won our outstanding apprentice of the year award.

How old are you and where are you from?

I’m 35 and from Whitehaven.

What was your motivation to become an apprentice?

My children! I’d always managed bars and clubs, so worked nights and weekends – being a single mum too, it was hard. I decided I needed a day job to coincide with my boys being at school. I looked through job websites and came across the housing manager apprentice role. I didn’t think I’d even get a call back because of my age – I assumed an apprentice would be a school or college leaver! However, I got an interview and was offered the apprenticeship – I was over the moon!

Why are you so passionate about the role?

I’ve always been a caring person and realised I could actually make a difference to customers lives and help in ways I never had the power to do before. I’m very much a people person; I feel like our customers will open up to me if they’re struggling with things like rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

Join our team

Find out more about our award-winning apprenticeship programme with its great pay, inspiring roles and support to achieve your potential.

Have you found that being a Home Group customer has helped?

Yes absolutely! Growing up on the estate I understand the struggles some people can have – I’ve been there myself as a young, single mother.

Growing up in the area I now work in has helped a lot too because customers feel comfortable talking to me.

What are your hopes for the future?

Now I’ve secured a part time, permanent position as a housing manager at Home Group, I’d love to continue helping other customers in my community.

What has the support been like from your colleagues?

I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with; they’re so caring and supportive. They’ve taken the time to train me and trust me to get on with the job. They push me and make me realise I am good enough.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to other customers?

Yes absolutely – go for it! I nearly didn’t because I thought I was too old and a year on I’ve won outstanding apprentice of the year. I’m so proud of myself! It just goes to prove you can do anything you put your mind to and you’re never too old to start over.

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