Thirteen has appointed more than 30 apprentices, who will be working with skilled and experienced staff across the organisation.

They will receive on the job training and a recognised qualification, up to level 3, in either housing, business administration, finance and accounting and trades such as electrical, joinery and gas engineering, to start them on their journey to potential future employment.

Ellise Winchurch, from Middlesbrough, was given the news she’d hoped for on her 16th birthday, when she was told she’d be joining Thirteen’s neighbourhood team, where she’ll be completing an apprenticeship in housing and property management.

Ellise said: “I’ve always wanted to work in housing and when I saw the job advertised online I knew I had to give it a go.

“When I got the call to say I’d been successful, I was shocked but it felt unbelievable. I feel incredibly lucky. I’d got the grades I wanted at school and then being offered the job on my birthday was the icing on the cake!

“This is just the start of hopefully a long career in housing.”

Apprentice bricklayer Liam Lonsdale, 24, from Berwick Hills was working as a van driver before joining Thirteen.

Liam said: “I really wanted to learn a trade. I know Thirteen is a really good company to work for and I’d often see the trades around where I live.

“Everyone seemed friendly and it looked like a great place to be. I can’t wait to start.”

An apprenticeship in tenancy support is just the beginning of a career change for 24-year-old Bianca McDonald, from Stockton.

Bianca said: “I’ve always been in catering since I was 17 and struggled to find long term work. I wanted a career, stability and the skills that will help me progress in the future. I’m a Thirteen customer, so I already knew about the organisation and this was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.”

Chief Executive Ian Wardle said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to join the Thirteen family. Our staff genuinely care about what they do and we want our apprentices to thrive.

“Every year our apprenticeship programme goes from strength to strength and this year we had applications from 1,100 people.

“Apprentices are our life blood. This is how we sustain our business and get talent in training them so we can deliver all of our essential services. Starting an apprenticeship isn’t about age or background, it’s about having the right values and wanting to make a difference and provide the best service we can for our customers.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to build a career for themselves and gain the skills they need in a growing and successful organisation. I’d like to wish them the very best in their career.”

The group joins 14 existing apprentices who are already working at Thirteen.

For more information, contact Helen Sturdy on 01642 773616 or Caroline Walker on 01325 363436.