Pennaf | Skills Gateway
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Apprenticeships offer a structured career path for people at a number of levels and we firmly believe that investing in the development of dedicated, hard-working staff helps us to continue to provide the very best service for our customers

A social housing group with 600 staff and responsibility for thousands of homes is future proofing its business by investing, with Welsh Government support, in apprentice training to create a new generation of skilled staff

Housing business secures the future with pipeline of apprentice talent

Image of Pennaf Housing The long-term maintenance of social housing stock and the support of tenants across North Wales will be in safer hands thanks to a forward looking decision by a large housing association group to invest in the skills of a new generation.

To date Pennaf Housing Group, which employs a total of 600 people, has started 20 young people on its apprenticeship programme, covering a wide spectrum of occupations from electricians, joiners, plasterers, painters and decorators to administrators, customer service and social care staff.
 
In addition the Group, whose headquarters is at St Asaph in Denbighshire, has worked with its partner associations to create a new course for housing officers, professionals who supervise the day-to-day maintenance and management of rented properties. So far ten people have qualified through this course.
 
Pennaf is an umbrella organisation supporting registered social landlords across the six counties of North Wales who between them own several thousand properties of many different kinds.
 
Given the scale of the operation, and the inevitability that some of its skilled people will retire or move on each year, the Group must ensure it has a consistent pipeline of talent to provide continued support and specialist services to members of its own group and other housing and care organisations in North and Mid Wales.
 
The apprenticeship programme is supported by the Welsh Government, which funds the external training provided to the young trainees. It was set up in 2012 as part of a “grow your own” strategy to nurture a new generation of skilled staff and ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.
 
In recruiting for the programme, Pennaf  particularly targeted unemployed youngsters by making use of the Young Recruits programme which enables employers to enhance the wages of apprentices aged 16-24 through a weekly subsidy of £50 each over 52 weeks.
 
In the first 12 months of a planned five-year programme, Pennaf offered five external apprenticeships as well as engaging nine existing staff in the 18-month training programme designed to take them to at least NVQ Level 2.
 
This special Housing Apprenticeship programme was accelerated in year two, taking the number of apprentices up to 20, of which 12 are existing staff and the remainder recruited from outside.
 
Gill Murgatroyd, Director of HR at Pennaf, explained the benefits of the programme: “Apprenticeships offer a structured career path for people at a number of levels and we firmly believe that investing in the development of dedicated, hard-working staff helps us to continue to provide the very best service for our customers.”
 
Apprenticeships offer a structured career path for people at a number of levels and we firmly believe that investing in the development of dedicated, hard-working staff helps us to continue to provide the very best service for our customers
 
Pennaf’s human resources adviser for learning and development Lisa Ramage said it was important to the organisation to involve jobless young people in the scheme. She said: “We want to create training and employment opportunities for people from local communities and are committed to improving skill levels and getting people into work.”
 
 “These apprenticeships open doors by building up skills and that must make a difference to the community as a whole. We are getting first class training from local colleges and the scheme is turning out to be a great success for us as an organisation and for the benefit of the people we work for,” Lisa added.”
 
In addition to apprentice training Pennaf sponsors staff to attain professional qualifications.