Supporting the local community and developing its workforce is a key priority for Solihull Community Housing and with four employees on a construction apprenticeship with Solihull College, they are helping them build their careers in the right direction.
Anthony Brown, Matthew Doyle, Terrence Whitsey and Bradley Jennings all work in the maintenance team at Solihull Community Housing and are currently on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Construction, specialising in site carpentry, having successfully progressed from the Intermediate Apprenticeship.
Solihull Community Housing is the Arm’s Length Management Organisation that runs the housing service on behalf of Solihull Council. With over 10,000 properties located across the Borough of Solihull, the maintenance team is responsible for ensuring each home is fit for purpose and maintained to the highest standard.
Anthony, Matthew, Terrence and Bradley all joined the organisation through the Jobcentre Plus Future Jobs Fund, an initiative to support unemployed people back into work.
24-year-old Matthew from Kingshurst, who had previously been unemployed for three years, said: “The opportunity I have been given by Solihull Community Housing is fantastic and I love my job. The apprenticeship is allowing me to learn a range of skills in the construction industry and it’s pleasing to know my work is benefiting other members of the local community.”
Every day is different for the apprentices, from repairing garages and fences to fixing doors and kitchen units; they are continually learning new skills and carrying out various tasks for the maintenance team in both tenanted and vacant properties. Anthony and Bradley are also currently installing fire proof vents in all of the houses in order to keep fire risk as low as possible.
Greg Lakin, head of maintenance services at Solihull Community Housing, said: “As an organisation we are continually looking at ways to develop our employees and the apprenticeship is the ideal way to achieve this.
“The apprentices are being trained to mirror the values of the organisation and provide the highest level of customer service to our tenants, while achieving industry recognised qualifications at the same time. The enthusiasm and hard work displayed by the apprentices is absolutely fantastic and they are a real asset to the maintenance team.”
Solihull College delivers the construction apprenticeship at two levels – Intermediate and Advanced – where learners develop a general understanding of the construction industry as well as specialising in a particular area. These include bricklaying, painting and decorating, site carpentry, maintenance operations or plastering.
Apprentices are assessed on their theoretical and practical ability, both in the workplace and at college, which they attend one day a week at Solihull college’s dedicated Construction Centre in Chelmsley Wood.
* For more information about the apprenticeship programmes delivered by Solihull College visit www.solihull.ac.uk or call the Employer Services Team on 0121 678 7181.