Berneslai Homes, an Efficiency North member and a prominent social housing provider, has taken a proactive approach to tackle the growing shortage of qualified electricians in the sector.
In a direct response to upcoming changes in the sector on a 5 yearly requirement for Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR), Berneslai Homes has adopted a forward-thinking strategy by enlisting the help of EN:Able Futures Flexi-job Apprenticeship Service.
Recognising the difficulty of finding electricians that will meet specialised EICR qualifications for a five-year testing and reporting cycle, Berneslai Homes organised a recruitment event for their community members and tenants. They discovered that a high number of electrical apprentices had found themselves in challenging situations due to their employers either going out of business or laying off staff, often with apprentices being the first to go.
The process of finding suitable apprentices was facilitated by Callum Whitehouse, Specialist Services Function Manager of Construction Services at Berneslai Homes. Impressed by the talent and potential of the individuals he met, Callum contacted Hannah Norton, an Apprenticeship Manager at EN:Able Futures, to see how they could be brought on board, he said:“The shortage of skilled professionals in the social housing sector, particularly electricians with the required qualifications, has become a significant challenge. However, Berneslai Homes has embraced a long-term approach to apprenticeships to meet future regulatory requirements.
“All the apprentices were first screened by Hannah, who then presented us with six who were most suitable for us to interview. Ultimately, we recruited all six through EN:Able Futures.
“The apprentices have fitted in really quickly and have already proven to be valuable members of the team. They are all clearly very happy to be given the opportunity to complete their apprenticeships and become qualified. One apprentice has even taken the initiative to organise a charity football match, which showcases his enthusiasm and helps the team gel.”
As their employer, EN:Able Futures deal with all the administration and HR management of the apprentices, leaving Berneslai Homes, as their host, to focus on providing the work experience they need to complete their qualifications, and provide the apprentices with a structured career path.
Julie Deeley, Director of Operations at EN:Able Futures, said: “Berneslai Homes' commitment to apprenticeships not only benefits the organisation but also contributes to addressing the wider skills shortage in the social housing sector. By providing opportunities for apprentices to gain valuable experience and qualifications, Berneslai Homes sets a positive example for other housing providers and encourages the development of a capable workforce that can meet the demands of an evolving industry.”
Lee Winterbottom, Managing Director of Construction Services at Berneslai Homes and Efficiency North Holdings Limited board member, said: “Who you gonna to call? Ghostbusters!?… Well no actually, we called EN:Able Futures, who quickly pulled together a plan to help us rescue a number of apprentices who had lost their employer. We were more than happy to help out, as it’s the right thing to do to support people with their development and employment. It also demonstrates one of our values ‘Can Do’. Besides this, it helps fulfil our corporate objectives to increase the number of apprentices in our organisation so they represent 10% of the workforce by 2030.”