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Around the Houses February 2012 ‘Around the Houses’ is published monthly to showcase the excellent work members are doing in a wide variety of different areas. If you have any stories you’d like to include in the next edition, please send them to All stories received will also be put up on CHC’s website. Waterfront homes scoop county award Jackson’s Quay, a £9m Newydd Housing Association development in Barry, has won the Social Affordable Housing category at the Vale of Glamorgan Local Authority Building Control Awards. Jackson’s Quay was praised for its high standard of workmanship and the waterfront location that makes it a highly desirable place to live. The development was built by contractors Mi-Space and offers 51 flats and 19 houses available for rent. Working in partnership with Mi-Space, Newydd used the i2i Can Do Toolkit, developed in partnership with the Welsh Government and CIH, to ensure that the majority of the work force employed on the construction came from the Barry area and five apprentices were given experience of working on a major building project. Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of Newydd said, ‘We are very proud of Jackson’s Quay, now an award-winning landmark development. These high quality homes are a testament to the hard work of our employees, the contractor Mi-Space and the excellent partnership between Newydd, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Welsh Government. We hope that our tenants will enjoy living in Jackson’s Quay for many years to come.’

Includes National Apprenticeship Week special!

WWHA staff leading the way on new fire risk qualification Two members of staff from Wales & West HA are among the first in the UK to gain a new industry fire risk qualification. Ian Williams and Vaughan Williams, both Asset Management Officers with WWHA, have gained the Level 4 BTEC Professional Diploma in Fire Risk Assessment. The duo undertook their training with BRE Training over a period of five days. The BRE qualification meets national standards and addresses non-fire engineered buildings with simple and more complex layouts including those over five storeys, with public access and higher risk occupancies. Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive for WWHA, said: ‘Providing opportunities for our staff to develop their potential through high quality training courses is a key element of our success as a business. I am delighted that Ian and Vaughan are among the first in the UK to gain this important new qualification. Well done them.’

Supported housing manager secures London marathon place for Welsh charity A Supported Housing Manager has secured a charity place for the Virgin London marathon in April. Louise Webster, who works at CT Cantref, will be running the London marathon on 22 April to support Tenovus. Tenovus invests around £3.9m each year in pioneering cancer research, education and patient care. This will be the fourth time Louise has run the marathon. Louise said: ‘I have chosen to fundraise for a cancer charity as I know lots of people who have been and are affected by cancer.’ Louise will run with a former colleague, and together they have pledged to raise £3,200. You can support them here:

London to Paris! Team Triskele is made up of three members of the CHC team: Phillipa Knowles, Rhian Robinson and Claire McDougall. This year they will be taking part in the London to Paris bike ride for Homeless International. Homeless International supports slum dwellers in Africa and Asia. The bike ride will take place from 26-30 September. On this trip they will encounter 4 days of cycling to reach the final destination in Paris - a colossal 271 miles from start to finish! With a collective target of £4,500 they will be spending the coming months raising awareness of their charity. We would be grateful for any donation you can make: Staff at Valleys to Coast learn Welsh In recent years, 22 staff at V2C have attended Welsh classes, from Basic to Level 2. Two employees, Rania Akel and Stephen Cook, recently sat the WJEC Mynediad/Entry level exam and are awaiting their results. V2C has just offered its staff a 10-week basic Welsh taster course and all 10 available places were snapped up. On completion of the taster course those members of staff will have an opportunity to continue their learning when a Welsh-Basic course will begin in September.

Around the Houses February 2012

Award success for Cynon Taf Community Housing Group Board members, employees and tenants of Cynon Taf Community Housing Group were thrilled to hear the news that their biggest project to date has achieved an impressive award success. The innovative family homes being built in Hirwaun have won the RCT Building Control Department’s Award for Sustainable Development for 2012. The former high rise flats, which were demolished in 2004, have been replaced with a development of two, three and four-bedroom family homes, including a bungalow that has been specially adapted for a family with a child with severe physical disabilities. The venture features highstandard homes that also have the latest sustainable features, such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting. Producing homes for the future is an objective the Group keeps at the forefront of every development. Winning first prize has ensured that the project goes forward to the regional event which takes place in April. Another of the Group’s projects in Trallwn was `Highly Commended` in the same category for remarkable developments of sustainability. Antonia Forte, Chief Executive, was delighted that the local project has received such recognition: ‘Not only will this project replace outdated tower blocks with attractive, modern houses for local people, but occupiers will also benefit from several energy saving measures that will help keep fuel bills down, as well as helping to reduce Wales’ carbon footprint.’

Supporting apprenticeships Mid Wales HA is working alongside Coleg Powys and CITB Construction Skills to assist with training opportunities for young people in the construction industry. It is presently working with Wates Contractors to develop 50 new homes in Newtown and is committed to its development programme which will bring wider benefits to the communities in which it operates. Director of Operations, Aidan Ackerman, said: ‘We have a target that 15% of the contractor’s workforce is in training and that 80% of the workforce is local. Two open days have been arranged for students to visit the site at various stages of the development and students can learn how the programme has been put together. Training opportunities have been arranged through CITB Constructions Skills which will provide placements for three apprentices: two as painters and one as a bricklayer. In addition, the sub-contractors working on the development are also required to make apprentice opportunities available in plumbing, ground work and scaffolding.’

Pennaf Housing Group invests in apprentices Pennaf Housing Group have announced a major commitment to invest in apprenticeships and training opportunities over the next five years, building up the skill level within the organisation and helping young unemployed people into work. Pennaf employs more than 500 staff across North and Mid Wales and their new Training and Employment Strategy will make provision for more apprenticeships, work experience, volunteering and training places. ‘The Group has already run a variety of trainee programmes and work placements in the past, which has enabled us to take on high quality people that can grow with us as a business. We know this works and we are looking to considerably extend this commitment in the future,’ said Gill Murgatroyd, Director of HR. Meanwhile two of Clwyd Alyn’s current trainees were given a surprise bonus this week as the Plumb Centre in Rhyl presented each of them with a £600 tool kit to help them with their new trade.

Around the Houses February 2012 National Apprenticeship Week Newport City Homes celebrates National Apprenticeship Week with recruitment opportunities Newport City Homes (NCH) celebrated National Apprenticeship Week by announcing the recruitment of an additional eight apprentices across a variety of trades including carpentry, plumbing, electrical and plastering. NCH has already employed 42 apprentices, mostly from the Newport area, since its creation in March 2009. NCH is committed to delivering more than just good quality homes, and its apprenticeship programme demonstrates its ambition to make a difference to the communities it serves by investing in local people. The programme offers individuals the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised qualification with work experience in their chosen field. NCH is committed to ensuring apprentices reach their full potential and supports apprentices with an Apprentice Co-ordinator, individual mentoring, training across a wide contractor base, as well as training in employment skills. Matt, from near Caerleon, is in the third year of his electrical apprenticeship and has recently been offered employment with a local contractor. ‘I always wanted to be an electrician but struggled to find an apprenticeship. I decided to put myself through an electrical course at a local college which I hoped would help my chances of gaining an apprenticeship. In 2009, I noticed NCH were recruiting apprentices and I was lucky enough to be successful… This apprenticeship has been the best thing I’ve ever done! I have been able to work towards a qualification in a trade I am passionate about while gaining realistic and relevant work experience at the same time’.

Career boost for new NWH apprentices North Wales Housing has taken on two apprentices as part of its commitment to supporting youngsters into employment. Ryan, 19, and Jordan, 18, have been appointed as Personnel Apprentice and Apprentice Joiner respectively. Ryan will be based at head office in Llandudno Junction whilst Jordan will train with the maintenance division, carrying out repairs across the NWH property portfolio. Lynne Williams, Personnel Manager at NWH, said: ‘We have chosen to go down the route of employing apprentices as we understand the difficulties in the current climate for young people to find employment. North Wales Housing is an established employer within the area and we have experienced staff as well as long standing relationships with local colleges, which means that we can support the development of committed young people.’

NPT Homes sees the benefit of working with apprentices In line with NPT Homes’ promise to offer more training and employment opportunities to local people, the organisation has given four young apprentices practical experience in carrying out repairs and improvements to their properties. Elliot Jones, from Baglan, partially completed his apprenticeship in plastering with a local firm before he was made redundant due to the economic downturn. Michael Hopkins, from Sandfields, had also partially completed his apprenticeship in plastering with a small local builder but he too was laid off due to financial difficulties. NPT Homes stepped in to offer them both 12 month, fixed term contracts, which will allow them to complete their apprenticeships while experiencing on-the-job training with the organisation. The organisation also retained two former Neath Port Talbot Council housing apprentices who both completed NVQ 3 qualifications in carpentry last year and are now in their final year in Neath Port Talbot College.

Around the Houses February 2012 National Apprenticeship Week

Tai Calon celebrates National Apprenticeship Week 15 apprentices were invited for afternoon tea at the headquarters of Tai Calon Community Housing in Blaenau Gwent to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week. Six work for Tai Calon and are the first recruits to its apprenticeship scheme. Simon Carter, Director of Assets at Tai Calon, said: ‘We are the largest social housing organisation in Blaenau Gwent. It is very important for us to provide jobs for local people now as well as in the future. Our apprenticeship programme is one of the ways we can do just that. We set it up with the intention of employing as many youngsters as possible and have worked with our contractors to get them to do the same.’ Joshua Price from Abertillery has been training as an electrician for just over a month. He said: ‘You just can’t by-pass the experience you get as an apprentice. Learning from someone else on the job is one of the most important aspects of an apprenticeship.’ Daniel is a winner during National Apprenticeship Week Daniel Jarvis recently received the ‘Outstanding Achiever 2011’ award at the Newport Construction Industry awards. Daniel successfully completed a three month work experience apprenticeship at Mariner’s Quay, Seren Group’s sustainable housing development. He then went on to finish runner-up in the Construction Youth Trust’s ‘Real Apprentice’ project before being offered a Future Jobs Fund placement on Seren’s Steps to Work programme. Such is Daniel’s commitment, he has now been offered a three year carpentry apprenticeship with Charter Housing’s maintenance team. Charter’s Direct Services Manager, Rob Bale, said, ‘When you see that sort of drive and commitment, combined with a good level of ability and skill in a young person, you do not turn it away!’

Around the Houses - February 2012  
Around the Houses - February 2012  

CHC's monthly electronic publication which features news from our members.