A GOVERNMENT minister has taken on a new role as an apprentice.

On the third annual Employability Day on Friday, June 29, Kit Malthouse, North West Hampshire MP and minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, picked up a drill and put on his safety gear, joining the Sovereign Housing Association trades team in Basingstoke as an adult improver carpentry apprentice.

Mr Malthouse was taken under the wing of new adult apprentice Kimmie Wheatland, finding out what she’s learned on the ground, working with mentor carpenter Paul Halliday.

Mr Malthouse MP said: “With a record number of people in employment, we’re making great progress in helping more people into work. But we understand that, for many, taking the first steps towards finding a job can feel overwhelming, so having the right support network in place is vital.

“Apprenticeships play a great role in introducing people to the world of work and to new career paths. That’s why it’s fantastic to see the important work being done by Sovereign to help people find work and progress in a career that’s right for them.”

Kimmie had been out of work for three years before she started with Sovereign in April 2018.

Sovereign aims to help its residents get into work with over the last year, 730 residents engaged with the organisation’s team of six employment and training officers working across the south west.

Of those, 212 people have been supported to get back into work or better work.

Jon Fisher, Sovereign head of communities, said: “We know from experience that getting people into work or keeping people in work is vitally important for maintaining healthy tenancies, but for some of our residents, joining the world of employment is actually a huge leap.

“So we support them by meeting face-to-face, offering them a safe, friendly location where they can get used to working with technology, and talk to them about their skills. We help them to recognise the parallels between their home life abilities and the working world.”