We’re really pleased to announce that our grounds maintenance apprentice turned full-time operative, Jay-Anne McCabe, has been named Best Female Apprentice at the recent Women in Housing Awards.

The awards, now in their fourth year, celebrate the fantastic achievements of women within the housing sector.

This is the second award that Jay-Anne has picked up, having been highly commended at the Greater Manchester Skills for Business Awards which took place earlier in the year.

Jay-Anne,22, from Hulme, began her apprenticeship back in September 2014, completed her NVQ Level 2 in Horticulture six months ahead of schedule and recently secured a role as one of our grounds maintenance operatives.

Determined to prove that women can succeed in male-dominated fields such as grounds maintenance, her ambition doesn’t stop there. Jay-Anne said: “I want to go above and beyond where I am now to wherever it will take me and I want to pass on what I’ve learnt to new apprentices, especially other girls. If I can do what I’ve done in two years, who knows what I can achieve in the future.”

The judging panel, made up of senior figures from across the housing and development industry, praised Jay-Anne’s determination and said: “We were particularly impressed with Jay-Anne using her skills to help the community and her success in a male dominated trade.

“Jay-Anne shows the potential of apprenticeships to help people realise their dreams. She also shows that not being afraid to be, ‘the only one’ allows you to do things you'd never imagined possible.”

Gary Power, our environmental assistant manager and Jay-Anne’s line manager said: “I’m chuffed to bits for Jay-Anne. It’s been tough for her at times working with an all-male team but she’s worked really hard and deserves this. She’s capable of doing anything she puts her mind to and can go all the way.”

Community safety officer, Nicola Holmes, was also shortlisted in the Exemplary Housing Professional category, a fantastic achievement in what was an extremely tough category, and recognition of the valuable contribution Nicola is making in tackling anti-social behaviour in our communities.

Penni Pennington, Director of Connectin, who organised the event alongside WISH (Women in Social Housing) said: “These awards celebrate the amazing achievements of women who push personal and organisational boundaries to achieve success.

“The calibre of the entries this year was incredibly high and the judges had an incredibly tough job to select a winner. We would like to say a huge congratulations to all the winners, and also to the shortlisted finalists”.