Appointments: Property apprentices kickstart careers with Castledene

A regional sales and lettings company is investing in new talent by recruiting four apprentices to its growing team

From left, Castledene apprentices Shelby Jones, Michaela Wright, Sophie Carr and Matthew Kitch
From left, Castledene apprentices Shelby Jones, Michaela Wright, Sophie Carr and Matthew Kitch

The Castledene Group has appointed Shelby Jones, Michaela Wright, Sophie Carr and Matthew Kitch as office administrators at four of its branches in Easington, Seaham, Stanley and Bishop Auckland.

Shelby Jones, 20, from Peterlee, joins Castledene’s Easington branch after successfully applying for an apprenticeship position through Peterlee-based Profound Services. Her role includes organising viewings, producing property details and handling phone inquiries.

Shelby, who attended Dene House Comprehensive and is working towards the Level 2 NFOPP qualification in sale of residential property, said: “I have always been interested in property and this was the perfect position for me, as I knew that Castledene – as such a forward-thinking company - would give me the opportunity to progress in my chosen career path.”

Michaela Wright, 19, also applied for an apprenticeship through Profound Services, and is the newest member of Castledene’s Stanley office.

Michaela studied at North Durham Academy in Stanley and is now working towards her NVQ Level 3 in sales and lettings, which will provide her with the ability to work in every aspect of the sales and letting industry, further increasing her employability.

Michaela said: “I knew that instead of taking an academic route, I wanted to pursue a vocational training course in order to establish a career in property. Castledene is an award-winning agency and is very well-respected in the area so I imagined that my prospects would be high if I worked hard. There was also a great atmosphere in the office when I attended my interview.”

Sophie Carr, 19, from Easington Colliery, joins Castledene’s Seaham branch. Sophie also achieved her apprenticeship through Profound Services, and is working towards the ABBE level 2 certificate in property: residential property letting and management.

Sophie, who attended Easington Academy, said: “I chose an apprenticeship route rather than university because I prefer a more hands-on approach to work and learning. As there is a Castledene branch within my home town, I thought it would be a brilliant opportunity to pursue this opportunity with a professional local company.”

Lastly, Castledene’s Bishop Auckland office is the new place of work for Matthew Kitch, 18, of Toft Hill, who will be working towards the business administration level 3 qualification throughout his apprenticeship.

Matthew, who studied at Staindrop School prior to pursuing an apprenticeship through Work Wise, said: “I knew that apprenticeships were a useful means of helping those aged 16 to 24 to achieve a qualification while working and gaining experience, and I decided that this would be a great way to start my career.

“It’s the ideal opportunity to learn everything you need to know about the world of work in a practical business environment.

“Property management is something I’ve long considered as a career, and as soon as I walked through the door of the Bishop Auckland branch for my job interview I could see that it would be a friendly environment to work in.”

This month the Castledene Group has also welcomed accounts manager Nicole McPhail, portfolio manager Kayleigh West, office administrator Jean Rankin, sales negotiator Jennifer Eliot and branch manager Kathryn Pentland to the company.

Managing director John Paul said: “We’re delighted to welcome our nine new recruits to Castledene as part of our continued growth. We place a very strong focus on the training and development of our team, and we hold an Investors in People Gold standard for achieving the highest levels of best practice in people management, so we know the importance of ensuring that our staff are motivated to succeed.

“We also recognise that investing in future talent is invaluable, and we’re very pleased to provide our four new apprentices with their first steps on the career ladder. We look forward to showing them the fast-paced world of property, and to helping them to grow and develop as members of the Castledene team.”

The Castledene Group was founded in 2008 and has a network of branches across the North East, managing more than 2,000 properties. Further branch openings – and the purchase of an estate agency – are planned for the coming months.

The company was crowned the UK’s best lettings agency at last year’s Sunday Times Lettings Awards, marking the first time in the prestigious event’s five-year history that a business outside London won the title.

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