The Berkeley Group has three apprentices working at their head office in Cobham. Rose has been working for the Berkeley Foundation since August 2014 and begun her second apprenticeship in October 2015. Rron came through the Street Elite programme and was offered a permanent position after he excelled in his two week placement. They have been taking time to learn from each other's experiences and find out more about what it's like to be an apprentice at Berkeley.
RK - How and when did you find out about the course?
RN - I heard about the course over a year ago from a friend who had previously completed Street Elite and now works on one of Berkeley's developments. We chatted through how he'd got the job, and then he referred me to one of the Street Elite coaches Ed, who introduced me to the programme.
RK - What were your impressions of the course?
RN - Initially, I was unsure about how sports training could lead to employment opportunities or how I would be able to use the skills I would be taught on the course in a business environment. However, I love football so the idea of employment via sports training was intriguing but seemed too good to be true. By the end of the course my thoughts couldn't be more different about the programme; I left the course with a sense of fulfilment and achievement. I felt like my coaches and Berkeley genuinely cared about my personal and professional development and I feel that more people my age and in a similar situation to me should get involved with programmes like Street Elite.
RK- What was the toughest part?
RN - I was from a different area to the rest of my cohort and I used to find it difficult to trust people I don't know, so it took me a while to develop any form of relationship with my coaches and peers.
RK - What did you enjoy?
RN - I enjoy playing and watching sports, especially football, so this course was ideal. I remained motivated throughout the course, as I was doing something I enjoyed. The course culminated in a festival for local primary schools which was really enjoyable; the day ran really smoothly, the weather was great and I was able to showcase what I learnt on the course to the children over the course of the day. The children were all smiles throughout - making all the stress of the day worth it.
RK - What were you doing before Street Elite?
RN - Before Street Elite I was unemployed and unmotivated. I spent the majority of my time doing deconstructive things and hanging out with the wrong crowd. I had failed to complete college or any higher education so the course enabled me to feel a sense of purpose and achievement which I hadn't felt previously.
RK - What would you be doing now without Street Elite?
RN - If I hadn't joined Street Elite I'm pretty sure I'd still be doing nothing with my life and my prospects would be pretty bleak. When taking into account my lack of further education, I would be struggling to get a job, let alone a career with any future or development opportunities. This really has changed the direction of my life.
RK - How did your work placement go and what did it entail?
RN - My work placement lasted for two weeks and was a great success. I spent three days with the Berkeley Foundation, two days with the Sustainability team and a week with I.T. During my placement I completed a variety of tasks ranging from editing websites to attending Longridge Activity Centre with the Berkeley Foundation - a centre that provides land and water based activities for those of all abilities. Following my placement I secured a three month paid internship with the Berkeley Group External Affairs team, and I am now a permanent member of staff! I enjoyed being able to put my creative spin on things and working across three different sectors within Berkeley. I also enjoyed my visit to Longridge with the Foundation team as it opened my eyes to the scale and variety of the work that Berkeley does.