GMLPF member, Sysco, recently announced their Apprentice and Employer of the Year awards. Apprentice of the Year is Kaitlyn Brown, a customer service apprentice with Kindfulness Coffee Club in Bootle, whilst Sysco Apprentice Employer of the Year is Adactus Housing Group.
Kindfulness Coffee Club are a small business based in Bootle who offer support to local individuals who are dealing with bereavement, mental health issues or struggling to make ends meet. They run a wide range of groups and services, such as Mindfulness and Walk and Talk, used by all ages that benefit emotional and social wellbeing. The café is quickly becoming a community hub and provides people with a hot drink and a friendly ear for their troubles.
Kaitlyn, pictured above with customers, has had an exceptional impact during the time she has been with the club. Due to her role being so specialist, her training was extended to include Safeguarding and Suicide prevention so that she can provide the right support to individuals who require it. Kaitlyn feels that her Apprenticeship “turned out to be so much more than a Customer Service certificate”.
Employer of the Year, Adactus Housing Group, has recently merged with New Charter Housing Group to form a new organisation called Jigsaw. Several of their apprentices nominated them for the way they recognise and meet the needs of their apprentices, and for the career progression support they offer.
GMLPF member Sysco, has become the first training provider in the country to complete the End-Point Assessment (EPA) for the new Housing Apprenticeship Standards with learner Hannah Chambers, 24.
Hannah, (pictured left with Jackie Grannell, Sysco Training Advisor), has been working for Stockport Homes Group (SHG) for the last 16 months after being recruited by Sysco as part of the SHG Apprenticeship Scheme and was signed up to Sysco’s Housing / Property Management Assistant Trailblazer Housing Standard in August 2016. As the first End-Point Assessment to take place in England, the process has been a learning experience for both Sysco and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) who acted as both the awarding body and Independent Assessment Organisation. Hannah performed exceptionally well, supported by Sysco’s trainers, earning the highest grading available, distinction.
What employers are looking for
“Sysco worked with us on a pilot basis, helping us to overcome the challenge of setting up processes and procedures that not only reflect the standards but also the roles of employers and training providers in supporting apprentices,” said Dr Veronica Coatham of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)
“Sysco are the first training provider to submit an apprentice through the gateway for assessment with CIH and we are grateful to Sysco and Stockport Homes for working with us on setting up the first professional conversation – Sysco’s managers have been very helpful in supporting us and prepared the apprentice very well. It is good to see that the new apprenticeships are delivering what employers and the sector are looking for.”
In Britain there are over 5 million homes owned by housing associations and local councils. Affordable housing needs people to manage the services customers need so the Government has recently reformed Housing Apprenticeships to enable housing professionals to provide these services. Issues such as the rise in homelessness and repossessions, Universal Credit, Government reductions in rent and housing shortages are having significant effects on the role of the Housing professional.
As a result, new housing qualifications have been developed to address the need for housing professionals to work with other public services to regenerate the communities in which people live. The new Housing Standards include qualifications and learnt skills, knowledge and experience that focus on these new challenges.
The completion of the first End-Point Assessment and the achievement of the first Housing Apprenticeship Standard marks the point where these new qualifications are being achieved by housing professionals and Housing Associations, addressing the new challenges originally identified by the trailblazer consultations.