A financially savvy young woman managed to buy her first home with no help at the age of just 20 – and credits leaving school at 17 to pursue an apprenticeship.
Remarkable Jennie Crockart, now 21, began saving money from the age of just 16, by which point she was working five part-time jobs alongside studying for AS Levels.
By 17, Jennie decided to leave school to pursue her dream of becoming a salesperson – and was quickly able to save up to £500 a month from her apprenticeship.
And just after her 20th birthday, the proud young woman picked up the keys to her very own £120,000 two-bedroom apartment in Yate, Glos.
Jennie, a Level 3 Advanced Sales apprentice at commercial furnishings company Furnished Homes in Yate, said: “Owning my own home has always been important to me.
“In my opinion, when you’re renting, you are just paying someone else’s mortgage.
“At 20, I’m in the fortunate position of having no debt, and I’ve become a homeowner at a time when many young people are struggling to get on the property ladder.”
Jennie added that financial independence was hard-wired into her from a young age.
“Growing up, my parents didn’t have lots of spare money but they always told me that when I had my own job I could afford to buy whatever I liked,” she said.
By 16, ambitious Jennie was working five part-time jobs, as a cleaner, a waitress, a cafe manager, a gym assistant and in business development, all whilst working towards her AS Levels.
She said: “As soon as I started earning I started putting £50 aside here and there – or more if I could manage it.
“I didn’t have a career plan or want to go to university, as my main goal was to become a salesperson or work in the business sector.
“I knew that I enjoyed sales and the confidence you feel when you’re doing well, and I knew that I didn’t need a degree to prove I could sell.”
At 17, Jennie made the tough decision to leave school before her A-Levels, and enrolled on a sales apprenticeship scheme with Furnished Homes.
And success came quickly, with the young apprentice generating £500,000 in new business during her first three years.
She said: “At 17, it was a great way to start out. It’s a brilliant way to start a career in sales.
“At that point I started saving a lot more, around £500 per month. I also saw my bonuses as just that – a bonus – so I put the money away.
“My savings quickly started to mount up.”
At 18, Jennie sat down with a mortgage consultant for the first time to get an idea of what she could borrow and the sort of deposit she would need to buy her first home.
And by 19, she found a home she wanted to buy and put all her efforts into raising the remainder of her ten per cent deposit.
She said: “It was ‘eyes on the prize’. Admittedly at that point I didn’t go out that much – but I certainly don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything.”
Jennie said her two-bedroom apartment needed complete renovation throughout.
But this didn’t faze her – instead, she saw it as a “good oppurtunity”, and put all her free time off work into painting and decorating.
And now, proud Jennie believes her flat is worth in excess of £150,000 – some £30,000 more than she paid for it.
She said: “I see where I’m living as a start. It needed work; it’s not in the most expensive part of town, but I made those sacrifices because I’d rather own than rent.
“I’d like to think I’ll move on in a couple of years.”
And despite her tender age and her frugal saving, Jennie has managed to fit in a decent amount of travelling, with visits to India, New York, Norway, Paris and Austria in the past few years.
She is currently saving to fund a trip around America’s west coast later this year.
And she encourages any youngsters considering an apprenticeship to “go for it”.
“Starting my career at such a young age has taught me a lot about life, and I’m exactly where I want to be at the moment,” she said.
“I never wanted to be reliant on anyone else, and knowing I’ve achieved all this on my own is a brilliant feeling.
“With an apprenticeship they’ll take you on, teach you how to sell, show you the ropes.
“It’s acknowledged you are learning and so you can progress from the bottom up without the pressure to perform amazingly from the word go.
“I enjoy something new every single day. It’s very challenging as you’re constantly on your feet, quoting, driving around, making new sales and finding new business.”
She adds she is now considering progressing onto higher education, and pursuing a degree in interior design.
And her Operations and Development Manager, Liz Parsons, says Jennie is “the definition of a ‘self-starter'”.
“Jennie is a perfect example of how giving young people a chance to shine can really pay off,” said Liz.
“Her work ethic and energy supersedes our expectations and we feel privileged to have staff of her calibre working for our company.”