Meet Zain and Mohammed

You always hear the question ‘would you recommend your employer to your friends and family?’ Well for Zain Qumar, he did more than recommend his apprenticeship and convinced his brother Mohammed to move to Midland Heart.

Zain and Mohammed work in the Rent Team as Rent Payment Officer and Dialler Income Officer respectively.

The brothers both started as apprentices, Zain in the Rent Team as an Income Officer six years ago, while Mohammed started in the Customer Hub.

Zain said: “I came through in the second cohort of the apprenticeship; we were brought into an event where we got to speak to different departments. I chose Income Officer after speaking to Lisa Harris. She said that we would always be in a job as we would be the ones that collect the rent, so I became an Income Officer, and have now been here for six years.

“It is good, I like the department. Now I have moved to be a Rent Officer, the role is something I enjoy. I already had qualifications going into the role, but since then I have done level 2 in customer services and been to college to do level 3 and 4 in housing.

 “When I left college I didn’t know what I was going to do until I was given this option, so I wanted to let my brother know that this was available to him.”

 Mohammed said: “It was ideal going to Midland Heart. I knew that going to university to do law wasn’t going to work out, as it is so competitive. With an apprenticeship, you get experience, and experience is what counts. Having a mix of both education and experience is very appealing.”

Both Zain and Mohammed are now working in the same area, after taking different paths to get there.

Zain said: “I started as an income officer then moved onto Rent Payment Officer, I have trialled projects and piloted quite a few different things. The role has allowed me to take on more responsibilities like managing debts, sign ups and viewings. I am one of the guys who puts themselves forward to work on new projects. My manager is supportive and pushes me to do different things.”

Mohammed said: “I started as a Repairs Officer in the Customer Hub to get my foot in the door, which was enjoyable. I had been speaking to my brother about the progression in the Rent Team, so when the first vacancy that came up, for Dialler Income Officer, I applied for it. My brother helped with the application. Initially I didn’t get it on experience, as more people had more experience, but people dropped out, so they looked at my work and offered me the role.

Zain said: “Mohammed had a support mechanism with me in the team, so it wasn’t just leaving him to it.

“It’s alright; it doesn’t make a difference to us. We have lunch together, only take one car to work, there’s always someone to go to the shop as well, if you don’t want to.”

Both Mohammed and Zain are keen promoters of apprenticeships

Mohammed said: “Apprenticeships are the best solution. You are not in a chair for five days reading textbooks, you are making the transition into work and earning a bit of money.”

Zain added: “Education isn’t for everyone, so I have found apprenticeships to be right for me.”