Meet Jess, Communications Executive

At Housing 21, we value the skills our employees can bring from other backgrounds and believe in supporting them to grow in their new roles.  

We are proud to offer a variety of in-house and external programmes, including apprenticeships to help our employees learn new skills and progress in their career. Hundreds of apprentices have completed their qualifications with us, including Communications Executive, Jessica Cooke.  

Jess was on track to become a teacher when the pandemic hit, leaving her considering other career options.  

 “After completing my PGCE in 2021, I found the job market for teachers was extremely competitive; there was still a lot of uncertainty due to the pandemic which meant fewer people were choosing to move jobs. 

“I wasn’t having much luck finding a teaching job, so I applied for a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant role in the hope that it would give me more experience and strengthen my applications for future teaching roles. I stayed for six months before moving to ad hoc supply teaching with an agency, but I no longer enjoyed work and decided to explore my options.” 

After speaking to friends and family, and doing some research, Jess stumbled across marketing and digital marketing and began an online digital marketing course to learn more about the profession.  

“I knew I needed both training and experience to secure a role in marketing and looked for jobs that offered that.” 

Luckily for us at Housing 21, Jess spotted our Marketing and Communications Apprentice role that would give her hands-on experience while she completed a Level 4 Marketing Executive Apprenticeship, delivered by Swarm.  

“Initially, I felt that I was too old, and that my career change may concern future employers; however, Housing 21 made me realise that you can change your career at any age with any background.  

“The apprenticeship comprised a mixture of on-the-job learning, seminars, self-learning and written assignments. Each week, I was given 20 percent off-the-job learning time which equated to a day, and with the support of my manager, I was able to block out this time to focus on my studies. “ 

Eleven months into her apprenticeship, a vacancy opened in the Communications Team for a permanent role as a Communications Executive. Jess successfully applied and was able to finish her apprenticeship alongside this new role.  

“The apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge, and I was thrilled when this led to a permanent role within the team. Being able to learn on the job from colleagues while undertaking the apprenticeship has been invaluable and I’m excited to continue my career journey in marketing and communications.” 

Jess has now completed her Level 4 Marketing Executive Apprenticeship with a distinction in all areas.  

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support from the team at Housing 21 or my tutor at Swarm who helped me throughout the course”  

If you would like to find out more about the learning and development opportunities that Housing 21 offers, please visit: Housing 21 - Learning and development 

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