Aimee (26), was the first apprentice recruited through the Centrepoint Apprenticeship Academy, which aims to lead by example in offering more work opportunities to those with lived experience. Here, Aimee shares her experiences so far and why this initiative makes so much sense, both for the organisation and for the apprentices themselves.
Aimee has experience of homelessness, but as she eloquently expresses, it is not the conventional view of homelessness.
“I’ve never had to sleep on the streets, but I have, for a long time, been without my own home in unstable living conditions since I was a teenager," she reflects.
Aimee says it was her lived experience that attracted her to a role within Centrepoint. She saw the post for a Receptionist Apprentice on a jobs website, did a bit of research into the organisation and decided to apply.
Attracted to working for Centrepoint
“I was attracted to working for Centrepoint as an organisation because I wanted to feel as though I was giving back. It felt a lot less soul-sucking than working in travel and tourism," she laughs.
“I feel like being here I’ve been able to take some of my existing skills and apply them in new ways. I’m gaining the business understanding of working in a new organisation and I’m learning about business management and stakeholder management which is really interesting.”
One thing Aimee has noticed at Centrepoint, is how welcoming and friendly the staff are.
“I’ve not had one negative interaction with staff here. Everyone is just fantastic; they are all welcoming and supportive so it’s just the perfect place for an apprentice because everyone wants you to succeed.”
Wendy Gurr, Centrepoint's Training Manager, recruited Aimee as an apprentice in their team and couldn't be happier.
"Aimee’s passion and enthusiasm for her role is evident in everything she does. We are very fortunate to have her in the training team, she has been a real asset! It has been a pleasure watching Aimee grow and develop."
Really comprehensive support
Nick Lewis, The Centrepoint Academy Manager, is the main point of contact and support for the apprentices which Aimee has found helpful.
“I felt fully supported, there’s always someone I can go to and the support feels really comprehensive. It’s great to have the other apprentices to share experiences with too.”
Nick is really proud of the progress Aimee and the other apprentices have made:
“I have been so impressed by the impact that all of the Apprentices have had in their teams," says Nick. "The perspective that they bring is invaluable and all of them have already made a huge difference to the way their teams work. All of the Apprentices are doing great and their commitment, both to their own qualifications and to the good work of Centrepoint, is faultless. I’m so excited to see where they go with their careers – their potential is impressive and they can all achieve so much.”
Everyone should apply
Aimee would encourage other young people to apply for an apprenticeship with the Centrepoint Academy.
“I’ve been telling everyone they should work for Centrepoint, everyone’s brilliant! Right from my interview, right from the get go, everyone has just been really welcoming and open. Although is it a fairly big organisation with hundreds of staff, there is a real sense of community here.”
We feel lucky to have Aimee at Centrepoint and think she has a bright future.