Celebrations are taking place at The Wrekin Housing Trust after it was named Large Employer at the recent Apprenticeship Awards.
The event, organised by Shrewsbury Colleges Group, celebrated the successes of not only those doing apprenticeships across a range of sectors, but also the businesses they work with. At the three course gala dinner and ceremony, held at the college’s training restaurant Origins, a number of awards were handed out, and the Trust was chosen to receive one of the accolades.
Collecting the award on behalf of the Trust was business support manager Les Evans who said: “This is a fabulous evening where we not only celebrate the apprentices and all their hard work and commitment, but also the many businesses in the area that help give them the skills they need to be successful in the workplace.
“The Wrekin Housing Trust launched its apprenticeship programme in 2007 and we have had well over 100 apprentices and trainees since then, with many of those first recruits still employed with us. Apprentices are the future of the construction industry. There was a time, around ten years ago, when there weren’t many teenagers going into construction, and we could see it was dying out. However, now it is very popular and we can find it difficult to get the right people with the right skills. By having apprentices we are taking a ‘grow-your-own’ approach to employment where we teach them the vision and values of the Trust, which includes working closely with tenants to give them the best housing possible.”
The Wrekin Housing Trust has always had strong links with Shrewsbury College and this year saw that partnership enhanced with the creation of a new qualification, called property maintenance. Les worked with the college to help them deliver the course, with 13 property maintenance apprentices currently working at the Trust.
James Staniforth, principal and CEO of Shrewsbury Colleges Group said: “The Wrekin Housing Trust has made it a mission to give young people the opportunity to develop skills and gain qualifications through apprenticeships. They have a strong relationship with the College and we have worked together to design training programmes which allow their team to develop new skills in trades like carpentry and plumbing. The Wrekin Housing Trust lead by example, giving their apprentices all the help and guidance needed to progress with their diplomas and NVQs.