Riverside Housing Association is one of the UK’s leading registered providers of social housing and has charity status. In order to reduce supply chain costs, in 2011 they acquired Evolve Facilities Services, based in Widnes.
Now employing over 400 people, Evolve FS operates in Merseyside, Newcastle Hull, Leicester, Derby, Stoke and Cumbria, specialising in services such as kitchen and bathroom refurbishment, gas servicing and installations, as well as day to day maintenance.
Investing in local talent
Investing in training for local people is at the forefront of Evolve’s ethos. Brian Gates, Community Development Manager at Evolve, explains why this commitment is so important:
“Being a local company, we feel that it is our moral duty to employ apprentices and we’re committed to providing opportunities for the tenants and people who live in the local communities that we maintain. Doing so helps us develop a highly trained workforce that delivers a fantastic service to our customers, as well as helping the local economy.”
In addition to recruiting new employees, the company also recognises the benefits of upskilling its current workforce. With over 400 staff, they needed a training provider with a proven track record for the job and one who shared the same local investment values as them.
With changes in industry requirements for construction coming into play, Evolve wanted to stay ahead of their competitors and invest in training for new and existing staff that would put their workforce at the forefront of the sector.
Finding the Right Solution
Based locally and equally as dedicated to nurturing local skills, Knowsley Community College proved the perfect fit. Their track record within the industry, as well as the state of art facilities, were also essential for adhering to latest industry standards.
After listening to Evolve Facilities Services’ needs and requirements, Knowsley Community College devised a training programme tailored to the individual employees that has seen over 110 learners receive training since 2013.
The training has been delivered across a wide range of departments with the company including, Construction, Electrics, Business Administration and Management.
An Award Winning Outcome
Both Evolve and Knowsley Community College were thrilled with the recognition. Brian Gates, said:
“We were really pleased to win the award; it was an amazing achievement for such a young company and we’re very proud that our involvement with the apprenticeship scheme has been recognised in such a positive way.”
Knowsley Community College commented:
“It’s great to see Evolve’s work with its apprentices acknowledged through this award. The company is a strong example of how apprenticeships can really add value to businesses and allow staff to grow within a company, gaining practical skills and experience whilst being employed and earning a wage. We thoroughly enjoy and value working in partnership with Evolve.”
As a result of training, Evolve commented on how staff productivity has increased, meaning the new highly skilled and motivated workforce has truly increased the company’s competitiveness. In addition, staff loyalty and retention has improved, as staff feel valued, supported and invested in.
Brian Gates stated:
“Not only would I recommend apprenticeships to any business looking to invest in its workforce, I would definitely recommend Knowsley Community College. They are flexible, offer value for money and have truly listened to our business needs”.