Bright and talented young people are vital to the long-term success and sustainability of Aster Group. This is why we are so committed to apprentice training within our business. As a forward-thinking and innovative business, our vision is for everyone to have a home but it’s not something we are going to achieve overnight. Our apprentices, and our current and future staff, have a huge role to play in helping us achieve this goal.
Aster’s apprentice training programme
We set up our apprentice training programme in May 2010. Although we had employed apprentices for a number of years before that, our business at that time had several different subsidiary organisations which operated in different ways, so there had never been any consistency to how this was done.
Our retention of apprentices after they had completed their training was also poor and needed to improve. Having a co-ordinated approach meant we could make the whole apprenticeship experience better for the people going through the programme.
So far, this has proved to be very successful. Since 2010, we have increased the number of apprentices we take on annually from two to an average of 12. Funding has also been made available to managers within the business who want to recruit an apprentice. At the same time, we are continuing to invest heavily in the programme to ensure it keeps delivering the excellent results we have seen so far.
Before we began recruiting, we talked to colleagues and they told us they would like to see us bringing more apprentices into our business. Many of our most experienced colleagues also expressed a desire to pass on the skills and expertise they had gained over their long careers to younger members of staff who were just starting out in theirs.
The combination of experienced colleagues, who have finely honed their skills over many years, and apprentices with raw talent who are eager to learn, means we have an increasingly diverse workforce, essential given the continuously evolving nature of our sector. It also means that, when our most experienced colleagues reach the end of their careers, their skills have been passed on and we won’t experience a skills gap.
Exciting career prospects and opportunities
Our apprentices also have their eyes opened to a wide and exciting range of career opportunities within our business – from developing new homes and housing management, to property maintenance and care and support – and the prospects we offer for career progression.
Our longer-serving apprentices have the opportunity to represent Aster at career workshops, talk to students about the benefits of apprenticeships, and even help mentor the next apprentices to join our programme.
Increasing the number of apprentices in our organisation has definitely had a positive impact on the way we work, and given lots of young people the chance to take their first steps in what we hope will be long and successful careers.
For more information about careers with Aster, please visit our website:http://www.aster.co.uk/careers/
Case study: Sam Hillman
Sam Hillman is brushing up on his skills through an apprenticeship with Aster Group. Sam, from Melksham, Wiltshire, joined the business in August 2015. He is currently working towards and NVQ Level 2 qualification in painting and decorating.
Through his apprenticeship, Sam spends time on site learning and trying out a comprehensive range of practical painting and decorating skills. He also visits Wiltshire College to complete the theoretical side of his qualification. Sam has excelled in the classroom, winning the college’sStudent of the Year award in 2014. He followed this up by being namedPainting and Decorating Apprentice of the Year in 2015.
Sam said: “I’d thought about becoming an electrician originally but since I discovered painting and decorating – I absolutely love it!
“Aster has given me the opportunity to learn so many new skills – as well as painting, I’ve done some wallpapering, tiling and grouting, so there’s been lots of variety. The rest of the team I work with are great too. There’s always someone to ask if I need any advice.”
Robert Hyslop, planned maintenance team leader for Aster in Wiltshire, said: “Sam has produced some excellent work since he joined us and shows tremendous promise. Not only does he have a great flair for the job, he combines his natural talent with an excellent work ethic. He always wants to improve and be the best he possibly can be, and his attitude is first class.
“Sam has all of the attributes needed to build himself a very long and successful career as a painter and decorator and is a great example to follow for any young person considering a trade career.”
Case study: Holly Powell
Holly Powell successfully completed an apprenticeship with Aster Group, which helped her land her dream job with our People Services team.
Holly, from Devizes, Wiltshire, joined the business after completing her GCSE studies in 2014. A year of comprehensive on-the-job training with our human resources team, combined with classroom-based learning with a tutor, helped her achieve an NVQ Level 2 qualification in Business Administration.
Holly said: “I had the chance to work on lots of different things and it was great experience for me. I helped set up interviews and probation meetings for new members of staff, arranged training sessions for lots of colleagues across the business, learned about how our payroll works, and lots more.
“I was thrilled when I found out I’d got my new job – it gave me a real sense of achievement. I’m absolutely loving it – the team around me have been so supportive and helpful. It’s great to know I’ve got them there to ask if there’s anything I’m not sure about.
“I’m really excited about the future – I’d like to continue working in human resources, learn as much as I can and eventually progress into a managerial position myself.”
Rachel Broome, Aster Group learning and development director, said: “Identifying talented individuals, like Holly, and giving them the opportunity to hone their skills under the guidance of our experienced colleagues is extremely important to the future of our business.
“Each year, we make significant funds available to the different areas of our business so that they can bring in apprentices. It’s vital that we attract young people with enthusiasm, commitment and a willingness to learn, to ensure Aster can continue to develop the new homes that are so badly needed in the communities we work in.”