Wearing two hats
Andrea Scantlebury is an Events Apprentice in the Community Regeneration team at Phoenix, and a staff member on our Gateway Committee. She is also a Phoenix tenant, and was named the Chartered Institute of Housing’s London Apprentice of the Year 2018.
I was weighing up an apprenticeship for a long time. The career change felt very risky, but it was a risk that definitely paid off, and I’ve never looked back since. My team is just so supportive and I honestly couldn’t think of a better place to work.
Phoenix is just so good with what they do. Even before I was an apprentice, I’d benefited from Phoenix’s support as a resident. Just after I had my daughter I was on maternity leave, and I completed a number of courses free of charge through Phoenix’s employment and training programme. Doing these courses kept my brain functioning and once I started my apprenticeship, so much more training was available and I get as involved as I can.
As Events Apprentice, I support the community regeneration team to deliver involvement events and opportunities for Phoenix residents. I managed my own event for the Community Chest, called the Phoenix Funday [Fund-day]. As the Phoenix Festival was moved to a later date, we created an event which would give residents the ability to vote for the projects that they wanted to receive funding.
The event was three hours of nonstop fun, and a lot of residents came out to meet the Community Chest projects despite the poor weather. We had a bunch of activities to keep the children entertained, from a PlayStation zone, to crafts, face painting and hat making. I’m very grateful to everyone who came to this event – we received over 370 votes for the Community Chest. Now I can’t wait until the Phoenix Festival, which this year is taking place in July!
Earlier in the year I was invited to present about my experiences as an apprentice as a representative of Phoenix at an L&Q event held on International Women’s Day, and that was inspiring. I was quite nervous, but I just pulled myself together - you’ve got to try everything once! I really enjoyed it and I got good feedback. It was such a good experience and I’d like to do something like it again. It was nice to represent not only myself but Phoenix as well.
I've never expected any sort of special treatment because I'm a resident, now that I work for Phoenix. I’m a tenant and whatever it is I expect to be treated the same. I do think being a resident makes a difference though. Every day I come to work, I know I’m helping to make things better not just for my kids, but for the whole community.
That's one of the reasons I decided to stand for election to the Phoenix Gateway Committee as a staff representative. It's so rewarding and I know we can all make a difference. I want to bring up my kids to feel part of their community and to know that just like any other Phoenix resident, they have the power to bring change and a better future.
I’m seven months into my apprenticeship now and I’m doing really well. I literally knuckled down with my college work these last couple of months. I’m halfway there already, and it’s sad because I’m not ready to leave yet. I’m hoping a job opportunity comes up in the Community Regeneration team, so I can continue my work here at Phoenix.
It would just make my apprenticeship so worthwhile, it’s just rewarding working with the residents. The community on a whole, just knowing that it’s my community.