Monthly Archives: September 2015

Vander Browning – Vestia Board Member

Vander Browning

I am the co-opted service user Board Member for Vestia. This was a new post that was the result of me asking why the board didn’t have one!!

I thought it was important for the Board to have someone who had used the services of  Vestia as I was worried that Board’s sometimes forget that people are at the other end of their choices. I am really pleased to say that I was wrong about the Vestia Board. They have a passion to make sure service users are at the heart of all they do! My term as a co-optee will last two years and I have already served one year so it is important that we recruit another service user to come up and take over from me next year.

For the new person they will get a lots of support from the Vestia Board, staff and of course me.

I am a mother to three children, actually it’s now two teenagers and an adult with a job, and a husband!! 6 years ago we faced a number of difficulties and I needed some support, Sharon, a Vestia Families Key workers was appointed to help me. She was brilliant. She took time to get to know me and my family, she helped me recognise my families strengths and what we wanted to change. She was then there to help guide my family to change things  so we were back on the right path.

Some readers may ask why I am looking back but I am keen to share with others so they can see that with the right help, they can get past difficulties and see a brighter future.

Vestia not only provides support to families, they also deliver training to help unemployed into work and support local projects like Big Local DY10.

If you want to know more about Vestia and its Board please email

I also want to thank the Vestia team for all their hard work and dedication over the last 5 years.

What Happened During August 2015

Rooftop Employability Programme

Over 3 weeks during August 2015 we ran an Employability Programme, for an Apprenticeship vacancy that our partner, Rooftop Housing had available.

After successful completion of the nine day programme the learners were able to trial the role and complete work experience. The learners were then interviewed for the job, where they went head to head with external applicants.

Out of the four learners that successfully completed the course three are now in full time work, including two that gained the Business Administration Apprenticeship with Rooftop.

Rooftop Logo

Welcome to our Housing Apprentices, Josh and Joe

On Monday 3rd August we welcomed two new Apprentices, pushing our total Apprentice count up to 29! Josh and Joe are the newest members of the Housing team and over the next three years will be completing their Level 3 Apprenticeship in Housing Practice.

Although both are university graduates, they found themselves out of work and as a result were referred by Kidderminster Job Centre onto our SBWA Employability Programme where they were successful in gaining the Apprenticeship with us.

Josh said ‘This has given me the opportunity to develop a whole new career path.’

Josh and Joe


What Happened During July 2015

Oakleaf Board Presentation

On Thursday 2nd July three Oakleaf Commercial Services Apprentices attended and presented at the Oakleaf Board Meeting. The purpose of the presentation was to introduce the Apprentices to the Board Members whilst raising the awareness of all our Apprentices within The Community Housing Group (TCHG), also to show the Board Members the great job our Apprentices do and the benefits they bring to the organisation.

Chelsea, Customer Service Apprentice from Oakleaf Repairs, Courtney, Business Administration Apprentice from Oakleaf Construction & Refurbishment and Harry, Ground Maintenance Apprentice from Oakleaf Grounds all presented their story and future aims to the Board Members and Directors.Oakleaf Board Presentation

Vestia 5 Year Celebration Event

On the evening of Monday 6th July employees from Vestia Community Trust attended an event at The Hive, Worcester along with various partners.

The main theme of the event was our partnership work; we were able to showcase some of our work over the last 5 years highlighting our successful partnerships. This included work with the other principal Worcestershire Housing Providers, Worcestershire County Council, Wyre Forest District Council, Barnardos, the Big Lottery Fund and ContinU Trust.

We also took the opportunity to introduce our work with ‘FUSION’, an emerging Housing Provider led social and economic inclusion consortium. The consortium will build on existing good practice within the Worcestershire Housing Sector to help the most disadvantaged into employment, bidding for European Funding to deliver programmes on behalf of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Vestia 5 Year Celebration

Baxter College Event

On Thursday 9th July a fun-filled morning was spent at Baxter College supporting their annual careers event.

Thirteen employees from The Group attended, including eight Apprentices who each had responsibility of handling their own interactive stands and talking to the students about their apprenticeship journeys so far.

The Year 10 pupils, who will sit their GCSE’s next summer, found the morning very beneficial and as always the school was very appreciative of our continued support.

Baxter Event

Schools Work Experience

During 2 weeks in July we accommodated 6 pupils from Wolverley Secondary School and 1 from Stourport High School. Throughout the week the pupils spent time in different areas of the business, getting hands on experience of the working world. This included working with our trades teams at Oakleaf Commercial Services and working with our Resources and Corporate Services teams. The feedback we received from the pupils was excellent, 100% were satisfied with the Work Experience programme they attended, and all said they would recommend it to others.Wolverley & Stourport Logo

On Your Marks Employability Programme

We ran our 9th On Your Marks Employability Programme of the 2014/15 academic year during July, and so far two learners who successfully completed the course have gained employment. The nine day programme offers learners help finding work, CV writing, mock interviews and is a recognised qualification.

One learner from the course rated the programme as good overall and said; “I have been offered full time employment, and I believe the confidence and people skills I have developed over the past three weeks has contributed to this greatly. I feel prepared for full-time employment and I look forward to starting my new job. I would recommend the course to others in my situation.”

On Your Marks