Home Group has been named Best Large Employer of the Year at the North East National Apprenticeship Awards for the second year running.

The housing association and social enterprise will now progress to represent the region at the National Final later this month, where the organisation also saw success last year.

Home Group’s approach to apprenticeships is to offer roles across the entire organisation so, as well as housing development, they have positions in areas such as finance, legal and social care – with qualifications ranging from entry level up to degree and master’s level.

Stuart Campbell, Employability Manager at Home Group, said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious award for the second year in a row.

“It’s such great recognition to our commitment to create apprenticeships at every level of our organisation and deliver the future talent we need in key skills areas. We are so proud of our apprentices who bring such a range of new ideas, skills and enthusiasm.”

Over the last five years Home Group, one of the largest providers of housing and integrated care in the UK, has supported close to 500 apprentices, with their annual intake numbers growing each year.

This includes around 70 apprenticeships annually that are specifically for Home Group customers and are designed to support them into employment, including roles in housing, health and social care, business administrations and customer service.

Around 80 per cent of all Home Group apprentices move into long term employment with the organisation.

Rebecca Warwick started her legal apprenticeship at Home Group in September last year, after previously being set on going to university.

She said: “I was really surprised that a law apprenticeship was being offered at a housing charity; I had assumed the apprenticeships would just be house-building ones.

“I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on the university lifestyle, and I don’t need to worry about paying as I’m earning while I’m learning.

“I’m also safe in the knowledge that I’ll have six years’ experience by the end of my apprenticeship. It’s such a competitive market, this will be invaluable to my future career prospects.”

In their 17th year, the National Apprenticeship Awards are an opportunity to highlight business and individual success and are particularly poignant this year given the challenges many employers and apprentices have faced during the pandemic.

Conducted virtually, each regional ceremony recognised apprentices that have gone above and beyond to make a difference while undertaking their apprenticeship.

Apprentice employers, apprentices and apprenticeship champions from all industries entered the awards, with over 1,100 entries received nationally, from sectors including the public sector, construction, health, IT, science and digital.