No one day is the same if you’re an apprentice with The Barnet Group and this week is no exception. From helping older residents improve their I.T skills to dealing with housing queries, our apprenticeships offer a whole range of opportunities.

On Friday 7 March, several of our current apprentices did a presentation to attract potential apprentices at our Employment Fair in Finchley.

We also spoke to Nair Santos, known as ‘Nina,’ the only Your Choice Barnet (YCB) apprentice who is based at the Flower Lane Day Service.

Flower Lane is a specialist service providing support to people within a wide range of the autism spectrum. It offers a diverse choice of activities both in the main centre and out in the community.

Nina says getting an apprenticeship with YCB has helped increase her confidence, gain a whole new set of skills and made her children proud.

Lynn Huddleston, manager atFlower Lanesaid that given the client base staff has to work with at the centre, she was very honest about the challenges that an apprentice would face.

“When I first saw the size of Nina who is a very petite lady, I have to say, I was very concerned! We had a very honest conversation as working in this service is very challenging. Nina has got a fluid role here in that she’s come along wanting to gain as much experience as possible,” saysLynn.

“We wanted to work on her confidence first – so we started Nina working with service users who were a little easier to work with. Now it’s got to the point where when she’s not here, it’s like a jigsaw with a piece missing. We finally had to make her take some time off in half-term and when she came back I’ve never seen someone so enthusiastic to come back to work!”

Angolan-born Nina, who has lived inLondonsince 1995, was volunteered at Children’s Centre inGrahameParkfor two-and-a-half years until personal circumstances meant she needed to find paid employment.

“At the time when I needed to find a paid job, I remembered a leaflet about apprenticeships at Barnet Homes that had come and I ended up applying.

Having an apprenticeship has definitely changed things for me. I have become more confident, and have gained amazing experience working with people who have a disability. No day is the same here atFlower Lane. I would recommend apprenticeships to anyone – it’s not about the money, more about the opportunities you gain.”

“I go into work with a smile and I still manage to leave work with a big smile on my face, because it’s what I love doing. My relationship with my family has improved as well. It has been good for my kids to see me going to work everyday and I want to make my children proud.”

  • The Barnet Group offers a one year apprenticeship to successful candidates
  • We recruited 15 apprentices for the year 2014
  • We fund college day release once-week- so apprentices can study for a nationally recognised apprenticeship award
  • Last year we recruited ten apprentices, eight of who are now working for Barnet Homes