For the second edition of our Homegrown Heroes feature, we spoke to Katie, a Business Systems Support and Trainer at Plymouth Community Homes.
Katie went to Notre Dame Secondary School and after finishing her GCSEs, she attended Duchy College in Callington, completing a one-year Level Two diploma in Animal Management.
After finishing her studies, Katie considered becoming a veterinary nurse, however at this time she thought she was best suited to a role where she could develop her skills and gain qualifications on the job, instead of three more years of full-time education.
In August 2014, Katie joined PCH as an Apprentice Administrator in the HR department. She flourished in this role for two years, securing a Level Two and Level Three NVQ in Business Administration.
After completing her apprenticeship, she was successful in securing a permanent Repairs Assistant role.
Katie excelled in this role for six years, where she enjoyed speaking with tenants and operatives within PCH, supporting them with problems that they faced.
In March 2022 she was successful in her application for a Business Systems Support and Trainer role in the Business Support Team. Within the role, Katie supports PCH staff members who are using the repairs system, helps to maintain the system and trains colleagues.
Katie Langdon said: “I really enjoy my new role, which is different to my previous position in Repairs in so many ways, but it has some similarities as I work alongside my colleagues and help to support people with the repairs system.
“I am still learning the training side of my role which is completely new to me, however I am quickly adapting the skills I had learned in my apprenticeship and time in Repairs to help me in this position.
“I am so glad that I joined PCH as an apprentice in 2014 and I am proud that I am still working within the business today. At the start of my apprenticeship, I found working in a full-time position quite difficult, and with it being my first job it was daunting, but with the help of the HR team I settled in really quickly.
“I was pleased to be given the opportunity to work whilst learning, with the added bonus of being paid, and I gained helpful qualifications and knowledge of the world which stays with me today.
“I would definitely encourage individuals of any age to take on an apprenticeship at PCH to get their foot in the door in a successful business. As well as the job itself, I was given support, and the benefits you get as an employee are good.
“I am currently studying towards the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Level 5 Award in Project Management which is a challenging but a beneficial step in my career. I was supported to start this diploma by the HR team who continue to be supportive, and I will be proud once I complete the qualification.
“The flexibility of my job is extremely refreshing, and I am now able to plan my day with structure and organisation and I can get on with my daily tasks which is my preferred way of working.”
Andy Lamerton, Repairs Supervisor and Katie’s line manager in her Repairs Assistant role is pleased that she has been able to progress through the company.
Andy said: “Katie was due to complete her NVQ when she joined us in the Repairs department and to this day, she still has the longest application form I have ever seen.
“One of her main skills include being a real team player and nothing is ever too much trouble for her. As well as being a lovely person, Katie is very passionate about her work, whichever role she is in, and she would always look to train the new staff and offer advice and support where necessary.”
Katie’s current line manager in her role of Business Systems Support and Trainer is pleased with her development and is delighted that she is now part of his team.
Ryan Coles, Business Support Systems Analyst, said: “Katie’s existing knowledge and understanding of the processes and systems within PCH has made her an asset to my team.
“When Katie first started in her role, she was lacking self confidence in her ability to successfully deliver support and training with others outside of this comfort zone, however it has been great to see her confidence grow and to build on existing relationships that she has within the departments.
“Recently Katie has been working on some system changes that bring better value for money to our residents. This has pushed Katie to work with our internal staff but to also work with our contractors. She has been delivering training to system users in a variety of ways. It’s great to see Katie embrace these new ways of working and make a difference to so many other teams.
“In a short time, she has become a dependable member of my team and strengthened working relationships across the department. Her knowledge and understanding of PCH systems continue to grow and this enables her to find solutions and improvements for staff within the department to continually seek improvements the systems and processes.”