What Happened During October 2016

National Apprenticeship Service – Regional Awards 2016 Success

On Wednesday 5th October 2016 employees from The Community Housing Group (TCHG) attended the National Apprenticeship Service Regional Apprenticeship Awards held at Sketchley Grange Hotel in Hinckley, Leicestershire.

The Awards, now in their thirteenth year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and nas-regional-photo-2016recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

During the ceremony TCHG were named West Midlands Large Employer of the Year 2016, a great achievement for the Group.

Marina Banner, Executive Director of Vestia and Corporate Services at TCHG, commented: “This is another fantastic result for the company. Our apprentice scheme is one which we cherish and value. Our apprentices are our employees and managers of the future and it is a great progression route, providing them and our business with the skills and qualifications needed to succeed in today’s competitive market”.

Job Centre Plus Event

On Friday 7th October 2016 Vestia Training’s Employment Services team supported Kidderminster Job Centre with an 18-24 In to Work Event.

Claimants were able to meet various employers, agencies and training providers from the local job-centre-logoarea, giving them a chance to find out information on upcoming employment opportunities, training courses and Apprenticeships.

The event was a success for us; we were able to recruit a number of claimants on to our Employment Services course, where we will be able to support them further.

Baxter College Community Project

Back in September we commenced a community project at Baxter College in-conjunction with Keepmoat. During phase one of the project we transformed an un-used section of the playground in to a seating area using raised flower beds.

On Wednesday 19th October 2016 we returned to Baxter College to complete phase one, where we spent the morning filling in the flower beds with some Baxter College pupils and were able to get some pupils from the Wyre Forest School involved.

We were given the opportunity to promote Apprenticeships and talk to the Baxter College pupilsandy-pupil about the importance of GCSE’s.

The pupils also got a chance to hear first-hand from Andy Snowdon. Andy, an ex-pupil of Baxter College started his Apprenticeship with us back in September 2016. He is now working as a Grounds Maintenance Apprentice in the Oakleaf Grounds Team; he previously completed two years of work experience, one day per week, with the team whilst at school. Andy found the school environment challenging and was therefore given this opportunity by TCHG and Oakleaf.  This gave him the chance to complete his GCSE’s, whilst gaining valuable grounds maintenance experience, which will now help him excel over the next two years.




West Midlands Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (WMYAAN) Meeting

On Friday 28th October 2016 employees from The Community Housing Group attended the third WMYAAN meeting, held at the Skills Funding Agency in Birmingham.

Kathleen Sandford, Learning and Development Administrator at Vestia Training is the Chair of the Network, and Evie Brookes, Assistant HR Advisor is also an active member.

The Community Housing Group supports this Network alongside other West Midland based organisations such as Jaguar Land Rover, BT, Sanctuary Housing and the AA.

The aim of the West Midlands Young Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network is to grow the Apprenticeships programme by promoting all aspects of Apprenticeships. Ambassadors do this by attending/supporting events, promoting Apprenticeships online and talking amongst colleagues and/or peers.

Following on from this meeting, we joined Twitter @WestMidsYAAN and created a personalised email account (Info@WMYAAN.co.uk).

If you have an interest in this Network send us an email, we welcome all Apprentices from within the West Midlands.

Welcome to Luke Skett, our Grounds Maintenance Apprentice

On Monday 24th October 2016 we welcomed Luke Skett, the latest Apprentice to join our ogsProgramme. Luke is the last Grounds Maintenance Apprentice to be recruited for this year’s Programme.

Over the next two years Luke will be working towards a Level 2 in Horticulture, whilst working full time in the Oakleaf Grounds team.


What Happened During September 2016

Welcome to Grounds Apprentices

On Thursday 1st September 2016 we welcomed six new Grounds Maintenance Apprentices to the organisation, with one more still in recruitment.ogs

These Apprentices have been recruited following the successful completion of our first Grounds Maintenance Apprenticeship Programme back in April 2016.

The new Apprentices will be studying towards a Level 2 in Horticulture over the next two years, whilst working full time in the Oakleaf Grounds team.

Institute of Occupational Safety & Health Managing Safely

During September we delivered a four day IOSH Managing Safely course, this is the second IOSH course we have run this year.

Delivered by Karen Evans, our Training and Development Officer in co-operation with KeyOstas, this course is very important to our business.

It helps our Managers, Supervisors and Team Leaders understand their responsibilities, and includes:iosh-ms

  • Introducing Managing Safely
  • Assessing Risks
  • Controlling Risks
  • Understanding Your Responsibilities
  • Identifying Hazards
  • Investigating Accidents and Incidents
  • Measuring Performance
  • Protecting Our Environment

Illegal Money Lending Leaflet Drop

On Monday 19th September 2016 employees from Vestia Community Trust took part in a joint project with the Illegal Money Lending team and West Mercia Police.

Leaflets were delivered to properties in the Sion Hill and Horsefair area to raise the awareness of Loan Sharks. Posters were also placed in local shops, and beermats in the pubs in the areas.

Baxter College Community Project

Over the past few months we have been working closely with Baxter College and Keepmoat organising an on-going Community Project. During September phase one was commenced.

In a quest to revamp Baxter College’s green spaces an un-used area of the playground was transformed in to a seating area using raised flower beds.

We will be returning to Baxter College during October 2016 to fill in the flower beds with the pupils.


Showcase of Services for Older People Event

On Thursday 22nd September the Vestia Digital Transformation team attended the Showcase of Services for Older People event in Kidderminster Town Hall with other teams from The digital-transformation-eventCommunity Housing Group.

It was a busy morning talking to visitors about digital transformation, asking about their experiences of going online. Finding out what interest there is in receiving training and support to gain confidence and to stay safe online.

The event was also good opportunity to meet with other organisations attending, building working relationships to aid people around Wyre Forest to get online.


West Midlands Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (WMAAN) Meeting

On Friday 23rd September 2016 we hosted a WMAAN meeting. Vikki Greenfield, Head of Learning and Development at Vestia, is the Chair of the WMAAN, and Karen Lowry-Hall, Learning and Development Manager is also a key ambassador.wmaan-logos

The Community Housing Group supports this Network alongside other West Midland based organisations such as Birmingham City Council, Coventry City Council, Midland Heart, Fortis Living, Sanctuary Group, Jaguar Land Rover, QHotels, BT and The Automobile Association.

The aim of the West Midlands Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network is to grow the Apprenticeships programme by engaging new employers through business to business engagement.



What Happened During August 2016

National Apprenticeship Service Awards Judging

On Friday 12th August 2016, Karen Lowry-Hall and Kathleen Sandford took part in the judging panel for the National Apprenticeships Service Awards 2016.

They spent the morning at Volvo in Warwick with other Apprentice Ambassadors deciding the winners and the highly commended applicants for the West Midlands region.apprenticeships-logo

Karen said; “It’s great to see the high standard of Apprentices we have in the West Midlands region”. The award winners will be announced on Wednesday 5th October 2016, at the Midlands Regional Apprenticeship Awards.

Employment Services

During August we ran the first two Employability courses of the 16/17 academic year. These rooftop-logoincluded an On Your Marks employability course, and an Employability SBWA, in conjunction with Rooftop Housing.

In total 13 learners completed these courses up to certificate level, where they received help with finding work, interview techniques and creating a winning CV.


Welcome to New Apprentices

On Monday 22nd August 2016 we welcomed Sam Neal, a Housing Apprentice to the Apprenticeship Programme. Sam will be working in the Wyre Forest Community Housing, Housing Needs team, whilst studying towards a Level 3 qualification in Housing Studies.

On Tuesday 30th August 2016 we also welcomed Connor McGonigle, a Business and Administration Apprentice. Connor will be studying towards a Level 2 qualification in Business and Administration whilst working in the Administration team within Oakleaf Commercial Services.


What Happened During July 2016

Employment Services

During July we delivered two On Your Marks Employability courses, which finished off the 15/16 academic year. Twelve learners successfully completed these courses up to certificate level, two of these learners have now secured paid employment, and three others are waiting to hear from recent interviews.

During the nine day programme learners receive help and advice with finding work, CV writing, mock interviews and a recognised qualification.

One learner who was very satisfied with the course said; “I’m very happy I completed the course and got all the work done, it has made me feel happier about looking for work. I would recommend this course to others because it has helped me loads, and has encouraged me to beRooftop Logo more confident in myself”.

We kick off the 16/17 academic year in August, running an On Your Marks course and a SBWA in conjunction with Rooftop Housing.

Corporate Induction

Every three months we organise and deliver a Corporate Induction training day for new employees, throughout the day delegates learn more about the Group and get a chance to meet other new employees, as well as the Director Management team.

We ran this on Thursday 21st July and welcomed thirteen new employees, who each participated in ‘Service Speed Dating’, where they met different Heads of Services.

Supporting Local Schools with Work Experience

During July The Community Housing Group welcomed pupils from Stourport High, Wolverley Secondary and Baxter College on Work Experience. Colleagues from Vestia Training organise school-logoswork experience with local schools as part of TCHG’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Each pupil spent 5 days in a business area of their choice, giving them a little taste of the working world.

Big Lottery Mental Health Project for Stronger Families (Vestia and Worcestershire County Council)

This is the final month of the project which finishes on 31st August- It has been an exciting and intensive year, delivering a project at high speed! Since starting the mental health project nearly a year ago, Keyworkers Debbie and Becky have worked closely with the Clinical Psychologist Dr Levita to improve the knowledge and skills of the Stronger Families service in relation to Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The aim of the project was to improve family’s chances of accessing psychological interventions within Worcestershire and ensure families were not leaving our service with long standing mental health problems once other issues were addressed.

Central Apprenticeship Ambassador Meeting

On 22nd July 2016 a meeting for all Chairs of the Central Region Apprenticeship Ambassador Networks was held, Vikki Greenfield, Chair of the West Midlands Employer Apprenticeship Ambassador Network, and Kathleen Sandford, Chair of the West Midlands Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Networks both attended, representing The Community Housing apprenticeships-logoGroup and West Midlands.

During the meeting Apprenticeship ambassadorial activities were discussed as well as an overall Vision and Key Objectives for the Central Ambassadors.

What Happened During June 2016

West Midlands Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (WMAAN) Meeting

WMAAN Logo'sOn 17th June 2016 employees from Vestia Training attended a WMAAN meeting. Vikki Greenfield, Head of Learning and Development at Vestia, is the Chair of the WMAAN. During the meeting important items such as the Apprenticeship Levy and Apprenticeship ambassadorial activities were discussed.

Lens Online Quiz

On 23rd June 2016, the Vestia Training Team attended the Specsaver Group’s annual employeeLOL Logo quiz, as partners of Lens Online. The charity event raised money for the Foley School Library. Our team fought off tough competition and finished second overall!

Supporting Local Schools with Work Experience

As part of TCHG’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Vestia organises work experience with local schools. This work experience is invaluable to the students as it is often their first taste of the working environment.

Over the past month we have welcomed pupils from King Charles High School, and have more pupils from local schools, including Stourport High, Wolverley and Baxter College, scheduled for July.

Opening Doors Careers Event

On Wednesday 29th June 2016, we hosted an Opening Doors for Business Careers event, in partnership with OGL. The event, which saw 15 pupils attend our head office, Foley Grove, was a huge success.

Ian Hancock, Managing Director for Oakleaf Commercial Services, opened with an introduction to the Group and details of his own career path. The pupils were then given the opportunity to take part in 4 different interactive activities showcasing a selection of Apprenticeships available at TCHG.