A South Tyneside housing provider has won a prestigious national accolade for its innovative approach to training. South Tyneside Homes, which manages over 18,000 homes on behalf of South Tyneside Council, won the Training and Development category at the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For Awards, presented by BBC newsreader Kate Silverton.
The company was praised for continuing to recognise the importance of training in spite of the difficult economic climate.
South Tyneside Homes trains its own staff so that they can deliver training to colleagues throughout the organisation. In-house trainers provided almost two-thirds of the company's training courses in the past year, freeing up additional funds to invest in apprenticeships.
The company now employs 28 apprentices in roles ranging from traditional trades like plastering and plumbing to business administration, housing and information technology. The apprentices attend college or undertake work-based assessment to attain NVQ levels 2 and 3, whilst also learning by working alongside experienced members of staff.
Ian Robertson, Chair of South Tyneside Homes, said: "It's a great honour to be recognised by such a prestigious awards scheme, which highlights our commitment to investing both in our existing staff and our borough's young people."
"Our Working Together programme has helped us to do just that - helping managers get to know each other and work much more closely together. It's all about helping managers to understand each other's priorities and improving leadership by working more effectively as a team.
"The value of that investment was apparent on Thunder Thursday, when we faced extreme and unexpected weather conditions. Staff from right across the business linked seamlessly with each other and colleagues from the Council to provide effective emergency support to over 100 flooded households."
The company also was also ranked at no. 43 in the Sunday Times' UK-wide Top 100 'Best Not for Profit Companies to Work For' rankings.
Councillor Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing & Transport at South Tyneside Council, said: "I'm proud of what our housing company is achieving for local residents, both in improving homes and providing quality training.
"Young people have been hit hard by the economic downturn, so the Council is providing practical and financial support to help local organisations create more apprenticeships, as well as working with South Tyneside College to support a pre-apprenticeship academy. It's good to see our housing company showing the way."
Over the past three years, South Tyneside Homes has invested over £165m in improvements to local homes, bringing more than 11,700 homes up to the Government's Decent Homes Standard. The Council and South Tyneside Homes recently secured a further £57m to improve homes over the next two years.