“It’s a very rewarding job and we’re always welcomed by the residents. It’s also great to go somewhere different every day and do a range of work. I’d been out of work before my apprenticeship so I was very glad to get this opportunity – it’s really worked out for me.”
So says Sarah Norry, a 25 year-old third-year apprentice electrician who is working with Lovell, part of Community Solutions West Midlands (CSWM), on the electrical testing and repair of 18,000 domestic properties across Birmingham. The work is being undertaken as part of the groundbreaking Constructing West Midlands Framework, a new regional framework designed to provide a complete solution for of public sector construction activity for Birmingham City Council and the wider West Midlands region. The Framework is managed by BCC’s services company, Acivico.
Lovell has been working on several Framework projects, and has been ambitious in its determination to ensure its work has a positive effect on the local workforce. The company, which is based in Halesowen and has its head office in Tamworth, has taken on 45 new starters, including seven apprentices and trainees. In addition, the company has now hit 1,000 hours of training within the first year of operation – over twice as much as the target it was given by Acivico and Birmingham City Council’s Employment Access Team.
A key part of Lovell’s success has been the way in which its supply chain has shared the company’s vision and values. These smaller, local firms have not only met quality and performance standards but have also played their part in recruiting and training local people. Connect Building Services have two apprentices currently working on Lovell’s Framework projects. One of these is apprentice electrician Sarah Norry, while the other is Chris Beddard, a local lad just turned 17 who has been taken on as an apprentice plumber. Chris comments:
“I joined the business straight from school and have worked on a number of jobs for Lovell already. This has meant I’ve been exposed to lots of different work situations and I feel like I’m learning a lot quickly. I’m really enjoying it so far and I especially like the refurbishment work because you find different situations every day and have to use your brain to work out the best solution.”
Dave Kelly, Framework Manager for CSWM, says:
“The partnership between Acivico, Birmingham City Council’s Employment Access Team, CSWM and our supply chain has really galvanised quickly and effectively. We’re delighted to be able to bring employment and training opportunities as we undertake this work for the people of Birmingham, and look forward to further recruitment of local people through the life of the Framework.”
Damian Donnelly, Framework Manager at Acivico, adds:
“Improving access to employment and training for Birmingham’s residents is clearly a key priority of Birmingham City Council and an initiative Acivico are proud to be supporting. That local people are now feeling the benefit of this is testament to the commitment that CSWM and our other Contractor partners have shown to the process since their appointment to the CWM framework. It is fantastic to see this initiative bearing fruit and we look forward to seeing more success stories in the near future.”