Council housing home improvement programme boosts local job opportunities
Published by Craig Downs for Keepmoat in Housing and also in Communities, Education, Local Government
Cllr. Tony Damms, Janet Sharpe (Assistant Director, Investment from Sheffield Homes), Nathaniel Pearce (Apprentice from Apollo), Kamal Sharafi (Labourer from Apollo), Lee Rogers (Site Foreman at Apollo) and Mike Edwards (Divisional Director at Apollo)
More than a dozen local new jobs have been created following the appointment of a new contractor to carry out home improvements on the city’s council houses.
Sheffield Homes and Sheffield City Council have appointed Apollo, part of Keepmoat, to carry out a home improvement programme on the Lansdowne and Hanover Estates.
The work, which includes internal and external home improvements to 40 blocks of maisonettes on the estates in Sheffield, has seen the creation of training and work opportunities for local people.
Twelve months ago, over 400 people attended a recruitment event held at St. Mary’s Church and Conference Centre in Sheffield. The event promoted the jobs that were available including trades such as joiners, labourers, training quantity surveyors, resident liaison officers and drivers.
As part of the contract, Apollo promised to appoint local people and have also gained commitment from their subcontractors to do the same, in order to boost the local economy.
The work includes external cladding and insulation to properties to improve energy efficiency of the homes but also reduce fuel bills for tenants living at the properties, which are managed by Sheffield Homes. Other decent homes work such as electrical and improvements to kitchens have also been undertaken.
Linda Crosby, Community Investment Manager at Apollo said: “As part of our commitment, we promised to work with the local community to provide work opportunities and create a number of sustainable jobs whilst making sure that the local community benefits from this project.
“The response has been tremendous and we are delighted with the quality of work that has been delivered. The people who have worked on this project have learned some valuable skills and knowledge of the industry over the last twelve months which will help them when looking for further employment in the future.”
Three local people who have already benefitted from the programme are Chris Kelly, Anter Mosleh and Kamal Sharafi, who live on the estates where the work is being carried out. Since the work started, they have gained a considerable amount of experience and Kamal said: “Apollo have given me the opportunity to work, this is my first job and makes me proud to go to work, they are a great company to work for.”
Another successful recruit was Lee Rogers (45) from Sheffield. Lee was appointed as a joiner but was quickly promoted to site foreman and now looks after all of the trades on site, controlling and making sure consumables and materials are on site as and when required.
He said: “I really enjoy being out on site in the middle of everything and have found Apollo to be a really helpful and progressive company to work for.”
Cllr Harry Harpham, Sheffield City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, said, “It’s great to see Apollo and the Council working so closely with the community to ensure this project is a huge success.
“I’ve made several visits to Lansdowne and Hanover over recent months and I’m really pleased to hear the positive feedback from the community. The cladding is already improving the thermal comfort of resident’s homes which will reduce their fuel bills and energy consumption.
“The attractive cladding colours selected by the residents look fantastic and really brighten up the estate.”
The partners on the project have also been working in partnership with Sheffield Council’s 100 apprenticeship scheme and SOAR Build, a local social enterprise and construction training company which focuses on raising construction skill levels and increasing the future employability of excluded groups across the city of Sheffield.