An apprenticeship is not just for those beginning their career, they can also be a great opportunity for those looking for a change in direction.
Terri McDonald tells us about her role with our Development team.
Born in Wolverhampton, but raised in London, Terri was looking to move back to the West Midlands to be closer to her family, but also keen for a career change.
I was working as a legal disrepair surveyor, which was quite different to the role I do now. When I saw this role, I thought it looked so fun!
I had heard about Midland Heart and seen signposts on buildings across the area where I lived, and I had previously worked for a local authority, so I knew quite a bit about the housing association.
She secured a role with our development team as an apprentice project manager and is now in the thick of developing new affordable homes on sites across the Midlands region.
I have been able to get experience of both pre and post development activities and processes so that I can decide which direction I want to go in when I finish my apprenticeship.
I spend one day a week working from site and attend our full team meetings every couple of weeks. I get involved with everything, I spent a few weeks shadowing our quality manager, Tony Hopkin, been to the factory that builds modular houses, had defect training, visited customers with repairs problems, attended site meetings, and assisted with handovers where we meet very happy customers to give them the keys to their new home.
I work with all our project managers, the new business managers who source the land and opportunities to build new homes and once building starts they hand over the project to the post development team who manage the construction. The teams work together though to help out so that projects fit together nicely.
Terri did not need to complete her 12 month apprenticeship due to an opportunity arising in the team after just eight months, enabling her to progress into a full time post and continue to help Midland Heart to achieve its ambition of building 2,400 new properties over the next four years.
When I first applied to do this apprenticeship it was because I wanted to use the skills that I already had within construction and develop them so I was able to take on a new role.
I took a massive pay cut to do it but knew it wouldn’t be forever and that I would come out with valuable experience. Never in a million years did I think eight months into my apprenticeship I would be offered a permanent role!
I am over the moon Midland Heart was able to offer me such an outstanding opportunity. The support from the organisation and all my team has given me the confidence to know I have made the right decision. I have gone from assisting project managers on their schemes to having numerous schemes of my own.
And later in March I will be handing over my first new homes single-handed at developments at Market Harborough and Rugby, rather than assisting another project manager with the process. I’m excited about flying solo.