Monthly Archives: February 2016

What Happened During January 2016

Kathleen’s Visit to Number 10

Kath at Number 10During early January Kathleen Sandford, Vestia Training’s Learning & Development Administrator received an exciting invitation from David Cameron, Prime Minister, to attend No. 10 Downing Street as a guest at a drinks reception to celebrate Apprenticeships!

This took place on Monday 18th January 2016 and Kath was joined by other employer and apprentice finalists. Kath said about the experience: “I am very proud of my achievements and feel honoured to have represented the Group at this event”.

Employability Skills – Oakleaf Grounds Seasonal

As previously reported, during December 2015 we ran the first of two Employability Skills courses to recruit eleven seasonal workers for Oakleaf Grounds Services, during January 2016 we ran the second.Oakleaf Grounds Logo

As well as perfecting CVs, creating application forms and taking part in two mock interviews the ten learners who successfully completed the January course also completed work experience with the Grounds department, and were subsequently given a guaranteed interview.

The interviews will be held week commencing 15th February 2016, and we are hopeful that some of the eleven posts will get filled by our learners.

Welcome Chloe, our Learning and Development Apprentice

Chloe BeamanOn Tuesday 5th January 2016 the Vestia Training Team welcomed a new member to the team; Chloe was successful in gaining the Learning and Development Apprenticeship! Over the next two years she will be working towards a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Business and Administration.

Chloe said “I’m very excited to begin my career; this is the perfect opportunity for me to develop new skills and build on my work place experience”.

Bewdley Work Experience Conference

On Tuesday 17th January 2016 we supported Bewdley High School’s Work Experience Bewdley High LogoConference for the fourth consecutive year.

Two apprentices delivered three short presentations to groups of pupils who had shown an interest in the careers we offer at The Community Housing Group.

We value the work we do with the local schools, it is important for us to get pupils interested and thinking about careers as early as possible.

National Apprenticeship Award Finals

Kath at National FinalsTuesday 26th January 2016 brought us the long awaited National Apprenticeship Awards Finals, and as previously mentioned Kathleen Sandford, Vestia Training’s Learning and Development Administrator was up for the National Intermediate Apprentice of the Year 2015 award.

We are very pleased to announce Kathleen was named the National Intermediate Apprentice of the Year 2015, and the overall winner of her category!

Kath said this about winning the National award “When I was successful in gaining an Apprenticeship with The Community Top 100 Employer 2015Housing Group I never envisioned two and a half years on I would have achieved so much. I am very proud of my achievements and feel honoured to be represented my organisation at Number 10 and at the finals for the National Apprenticeship Service Awards”.

The Community Housing Group’s Apprenticeship Programme achieved further success at the Awards, as for a third year running they were recognised as one of the UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers. The list is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Services and recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices.

What Happened During December 2015

Employability Skills – Fortis Living

During December we ran an Employability Course for a Debt Prevention Assistant working at Fortis Living LogoFortis Living.

Four learners successfully completed the course and as a result were given work experience and an interview at Fortis. One of the learners has since gone into employment as a Chef.

National Apprenticeship Service Awards – Finalists Announced

In November we reported that our Learning and Development Administrator Kathleen Sandford was named West Midland’s Intermediate Apprentice of the Year 2015.

Following another round of judging we are delighted to announce Kath has been selected as one of the three National Finalists, beating off eight other Regional winners!NAS Awards 2015

The National Finals will take place at The Grosvenor House, A JW Marriot Hotel, London on the evening of Tuesday 26 January 2016.

During the ceremony the Top 100 Apprentice Employers of 2015 will also be announced, we are hopeful TCHG will make it on to this prestigious list for the third year running.

Birmingham Metropolitan (BMet) Event

On Thursday 3rd December 2015 employees from Vestia Training presented at a BMet Careers event on behalf of The Community Housing Group and the West Midlands Apprenticeship Ambassador Network.

BMET LogoDuring the presentation we promoted apprenticeships, explained what an apprenticeship is, how they work and how to get one.

Karen and Kath from Vestia Training also sat on an employer interview panel, this gave members of the audience an opportunity to ask questions and seek advice on post college employment.

Employability Skills – Oakleaf Grounds Seasonal

During December we ran the first of two Employability Skills courses for our Oakleaf Grounds Services Team. We run these courses yearly to help support Oakleaf recruitment for their seasonal workers, during the busy spring/summer months.Oakleaf Grounds Logo

Seven learners successfully completed the first course and then went on to complete work experience within the Grounds department. We will run the second course during January 2016, and interviews for the eleven seasonal positions will take place mid-February; we are hopeful eleven of our learners will gain employment.

Welcome to Tyran, our new I.T Apprentice

Tyran GalvinOn Monday 14th December we welcomed our newest and youngest apprentice to The Community Housing Group. At just 16 years old Tyran has been appointed as an I.T Apprentice working in the I.T department.

Tyran’s main responsibilities will revolve around answering the IT Help Desk calls and assisting all Group colleagues with their day to day IT issues, whilst studying towards an IT and Telecommunications Level 3 Apprenticeship.

Learning and Development Awards 2015

A true celebration marked the end of 2015 on 15th December when we held the Group Learning & Development Awards 2015 at Foley Grove.

Guests from The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership along with our Directors spoke at the event and awarded many of our employees with certificates of achievement. Everyone that was recognised has worked extremely hard to achieve their individual qualification whilst holding down busy day jobs. Their dedication and commitment to achieve is to be admired!

Learning and Development Awards 2015




What Happened During November 2015

Harry - Trinity High Careers EventTrinity High School Careers Event

On Thursday 5th November 2015 employees from Vestia Training, Oakleaf Grounds and Care and Support attended a careers event at Trinity High School.

During the event we talked about post 16 education and employment opportunities that are available to the pupils.

Employability Skills – Learning and Development Apprentice

During November 2015 we ran an Employability Skills course, as well as improving CV writing and interview skills the purpose of the course was to find a Learning and Development Apprentice to join our Vestia Training Team.

Five learners successfully completed the course and went on to complete work experience, we will continue to work with the learners to support them to find suitable employment.

On Your Marks – Lens Online

Following on from the successful On Your Marks programme that ran in conjunction with Lens Online during September, we ran our second course in November.

Seven learners completed the nine day programme and three were chosen to do two weeks work experience at Lens Online as a result.LOL Logo

Again our learners impressed the management team and all three progressed to employment with them through their recruitment partner, Louise Hewett.

This makes a total of 4 learners that have gone on to get a job at Lens Online after completing our On Your Marks programme.

Double Win at the Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards

On Thursday 12th November 2015 employees from the Group and Vestia attended Worcestershire Apprentice Awards held at Tree Tops Pavilion. TCHG celebrated a double win for our Apprenticeship programme by securing the Award for ‘Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year’ and the overall Award of ‘Worcestershire Apprentice Employer of The Year’.

In addition, our West Midlands Intermediate Apprentice of the Year, Kathleen Sandford presented the award for ‘Traineeship of the Year’ sponsored by Vestia.

The citation for the overall Employer Award was particularly gratifying as it spoke about the winner needing to demonstrate not just that they were committed to Apprenticeships, but that they were embedded in the organisation.

Marina and David at Worcs Awards

Business in the Community Careers Event

The Community Housing Group is a member of a partnership called Worcestershire Business Class Cluster. The partnership is made up of four local schools and businesses, who have come together to address the gap between employer requirements and the skills and aspirations of young people.

On Thursday 19th November 2015 TCHG hosted a careers event on behalf of the partnership. Pupils from the four different schools (Baxter College, North Bromsgrove, Trinity High and RSA Arrowvale) attended and were given the opportunity to take part in various activities, allowing them to find out more about post 16 employment.BITC Event

8 Apprentices from different areas of the Group attended, including Customer Services, Housing, Carpentry and Grounds Maintenance. The apprentices set up an ‘apprenticeship workshop’ where they spent time talking to the pupils about apprenticeships and their journey in to work.

Stourport High School Careers Event

On Tuesday 24th November 2015 we attended a careers event at Stourport High School. The event was supported by employees and apprentices from Care and Support, Oakleaf Commercial Services, Finance and Vestia Training.

During the event apprentices from different areas were responsible for running their own stand which gave pupils an insight in to different apprenticeships.

Create Your Own Cress Head PosterThe different stands included Knock in the Nail Competition, Care and Support Falls Response Chair, General Apprenticeship Information and Advice and Create your Own Cress Heads.

The pupils found the event very beneficial and we have since had requests for work experience during the summer term.

What Happened During October 2015

Wyre Forest’s Apprenticeship & Careers Fair

On Thursday 1st October members from the Training team were joined by colleagues from HR to take part in Mark Garnier’s Wyre Forest Apprenticeship & Careers Fair.Town Hall Event 01.10.15

The Fair was held at Kidderminster Town Hall and saw attendance from local pupils, job seekers and employers.

During the event we promoted apprenticeships, gave advice on getting in to work and offered our help to local job seekers with writing applications and creating CVs.

Success at the National Apprenticeship Service Awards Regional Finals

On Thursday 8th October 2015 employees from The Community Housing Group attended the West Midland Regional Finals for the National Apprenticeship Service Awards at Edgbaston Cricket Ground.

The Group was up for West Midlands Large Employer of the Year 2015 and Kathleen Sandford, Vestia Training’s Learning and Development Administrator was up for West Midlands Intermediate Apprentice of the Year.

left to right: David Chantler, Vicky Greenfield, Ian Hancock, Michelle Hancocks, Kathleen Sandford, Marina Banner, Ray Brookes, Evie Brookes, Karen Lowry-Hall, Andy Ballard - The Community Housing Group. West Midlands Apprenticeship Awards 2015. Edgbaston Cricket Club, Birmingham. Photographer Sam Pearce 8.10.15

Left to right: David Chantler, Vikki Greenfield, Ian Hancock, Michelle Hancox, Kathleen Sandford, Marina Banner, Ray Brookes, Evie Brookes, Karen Lowry-Hall, Andy Ballard – The Community Housing Group. West Midlands Apprenticeship Awards 2015. Edgbaston Cricket Club, Birmingham. Photographer Sam Pearce 8.10.15

Following on from previous successful years at the awards, The Group was named highly commended in their category and Kathleen was named overall winner of her category.Kath Headshot at Regional Awards

Kath will now progress in the competition, where she will go through another stage of judging
before finding out if she has made it to the National Finals in November 2015!

Kath said this about Apprenticeships; “I think apprenticeships are a great progression route, not only for school leavers but for anyone looking to start a career, they provide people with the skills and qualifications needed to succeed in today’s competitive job market”.

King Charles School Assembly

King Charles LogoOn Tuesday 20th October two Apprentices from The Group, delivered a school assembly at King Charles High School. Louise (Customer Service Apprentice) and Josh (Housing Apprentice) spoke about their journey in to work, including what they were doing prior to their apprenticeship, and their future aspirations.