My name is Joe Upson, I’m 22 years old and I’m a pre-apprentice with the Income Management team at CKH.
I recently graduated with a degree in maths, I knew straight away that maths was my strongpoint and the career path I choose will certainly involve it in some way. I applied for the pre-apprentice scheme because I wanted to work in an office-based environment because I’d be a lot more comfortable and learn a lot more.
I had picked up various skills from my time at university which I was able to transfer over to the interview process, so I felt I was very prepared. On top of that, CKH offered a week long academy at Peterborough City College to everyone that had applied. The college gave me an insight into my chosen department which was great. I was also given the opportunity to conduct practice interviews which really helped – especially the tips on how to tackle difficult questions that might come up in the interview.
I was excited to hear that I was accepted for the scheme; I was nervous meeting an already established team, but they were very welcoming and made me feel at ease. I really enjoy working in a fast-paced office environment – there hasn’t been a day yet where I’ve dreaded going to work, I’ve had such a drive to come in every day since I started. I’m really happy that I’ve found a placement which correlates so closely to what I studied at uni, it’s allowed me to pick everything up a lot easier.
I’ve been working with all corners of the system; universal credit, direct debits, housing benefits/rent arrears and I’ve even been able to go out on visits with my team. I’ve been taking phone calls on the arrears loop which can be very varied - rent queries, payments and setting up direct debits – speaking with tenants, which has been an amazing experience. Also, we have lots of tenants who have changes to their housing benefit so again the system needs updating too. This is quite an important job as the accounts need to balance, to reflect the overall arrears totals.
Since this is such a high priority team, I’ve been treated as if I was a full-time employee - I haven’t been stuck doing all the odd tasks. It’s been a fantastic experience so far and I can’t wait for the next five months here at CKH. The placement is a great stepping stone for my future as I’m hoping to move onto social housing for a full time career.