> Thirteen and Tees Valley Combined Authority

Thirteen and Tees Valley Combined Authority

Thirteen is the largest housing association in the North East and amongst the biggest 25 nationally. It owns and manage around 34,000 properties in the North East region, 30,000 being in the Tees Valley, with 70,000 tenants and customers. On top of this, it is a homebuilder that offers support services to vulnerable people.

Thirteen recognises the importance of helping local people gain work experience, qualifications and a step on the career ladder, and working with TeesValleyCareers.com is the perfect way to do that. There are many career opportunities at Thirteen, from administration roles, customer service, project management, finance and information technology, human resources to trade operatives including electricians, gas engineers, joiners, and more.

Its apprenticeship programme continues to go from strength to strength, helping them sustain their business by identifying and training talent to deliver its services. An apprenticeship isn’t about age or background, it’s about having the right values and wanting to provide the best service we can for customers.

Thirteen has opportunities for people to build a career for themselves and gain the skills it needs in a growing a successful organisation, but it needs to be able to make people aware of these opportunities. The group is committed to helping the local community and, by working with TeesValleyCareers.com and engaging with schools and colleges in the region, it can do just this.

Property liaison adviser Gill Sweeney has worked in the housing and construction industry for 15 years. She is part of a team who have been working with schools across Tees Valley. She said:

“There was nothing like this when I was at school. To have an insight into different careers and have the chance to speak to professionals about their experience would have been so beneficial.

“We involve different staff members who all have a success story to tell. They speak to the students about their personal experiences. We want our staff members to help students build their confidence and aspirations when they see how they’ve progressed in their career. We give that time to the students to help them believe they can achieve their goals.  

“Volunteering in the role of an Enterprise Adviser for Ian Ramsey CE Academy has been incredibly rewarding. We’re able to use our business experience and professional networks to help young people prepare for the world of work as well as develop our skills in a new context, give back to the community and gain a better understanding of the education sector and challenges they face.

“We’ve built up great working relationships with the local schools and colleges. Once we receive a request from TeesValleyCareers.com we set to work planning the event.  

 “Dedicated staff members make the arrangements and plan how we can tailor our support, so that the students really benefit. 

We fit this in around our daily work commitments. While we all have a day job to do, it’s that wealth of experience that we know will help the students. We’re incredibly lucky that our managers support us to do this. 

“It’s brilliant to see the enthusiasm from our staff members, from trade operatives, supervisors to experts in apprenticeships. We all have something to give. We’re never short of volunteers. Staff want to help so they’re always happy to attend on an evening. 

 “Just last year, we spoke to almost 5,500 students across schools and colleges in the Tees Valley, including Conyers School in Yarm, Outwood Academy in Redcar, Hartlepool College of Further Education and Ian Ramsey School in Stockton. 

 “We adapt each event to suit the audience, from giving out careers information leaflets to running mock interviews and bridge building to encourage the students to work as a team. 

 “It’s so valuable to be able to help the next generation, so if there are any other employers out there who are thinking about becoming involved, we would definitely recommend it. We know that when we receive great feedback, we are fulfilling our commitment and we hope to see some of the students we inspire starting a career with Thirteen in the future.”