Why Yorkshire Housing places importance on apprenticeships

Yorkshire Housing recruited its first apprentice in 2007, and, since then has seen its apprenticeship programme go from strength to strength; with apprentices becoming an integral part of the business’ succession planning.

National Apprenticeship Awards 2016, Grosvenor House, A JW Marttiott Hotel, London. 26/01/2016 Photographer: Mary Stamm-Clarke / Simon Johns

101 apprentices have either completed or are currently working on their apprenticeship with the organisation.

With an annual cohort of 25 apprentices, the programme is supported by a dedicated team.

Senior people development coordinator Kiran Olak manages the programme and said: “It’s great that our apprentices have dedicated support. The small team is always on-hand to offer advice and coaching, as well as planning for the next round of apprentice recruitment.

“Delivering apprenticeships is a team effort at Yorkshire Housing, including HR, managers and mentors. This year we’re launching a new website that our existing apprentices have helped design.”

A great place to work

Yorkshire Housing has a ‘grow your own’ culture which truly is demonstrated by the retention rates of apprentices.

Over 70% of apprentices have stayed in the business, with some teams having a strong contingent of either former or current apprentices. HomeWorks, IT support services and the Help to Buy teams have a high number of former and current apprentices, with many established apprentices mentoring the new cohorts.

This then creates natural progression for former apprentices to work towards management roles. It means new apprentices are given the information and training they need from a colleague who has been there and done it.

Social purpose

As a charitable organisation, the apprenticeship scheme is an important part of Yorkshire Housing’s wider social purpose.

Working in tandem with services provided by its community investment team and money and benefit advice team, the programme helps to improve the lives of customers and the wider community through development and investment.

The apprenticeship scheme also helps to create a more diverse workforce with 22 per cent off apprentices being black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Yorkshire Housing’s first female gas and electrical engineers also joined via the apprenticeship programme. Both are now fully qualified and continue to work for the business.

Happy and productive

Kiran added: “The quality of work apprentices produced over the course of the programme is fantastic. We find that within a six to eight month period, many apprentices are meeting or, in some cases, exceeding the productivity levels expected of qualified colleagues.

“This shows a real hunger to work for the organisation and a willingness to develop. Having this injection of energy and can-do attitude is priceless for the organisation.

“96% of apprentices said they were proud to work for Yorkshire Housing and this is shown in the effort and quality of work they produce.”