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Novus sets the winds of change in motion

NOVUS SETS THE WINDS OF CHANGE IN MOTION

  16 FEBRUARY, 2018
Novus Property Solutions, ENGIE, and Places for People have joined forces to complete a major refurbishment project for a scheme that provides temporary accommodation for homeless young families in Sheffield, as part of its commitment to delivering social value.   The Windmill Project is a housing development specifically for young families that have been made homeless. The quiet cul-de-sac in Sheffield has a few houses solely for these vulnerable families plus a small community centre. The project, which is designed to create a safe environment to help these families rebuild their lives, is managed by property management, development, regeneration and leisure company, Places for People.   For the past three years, Novus has worked with ENGIE to assist Places for People with an annual charitable regeneration project, with both providing labour and materials free of charge. The two contractors provide a planned and reactive property maintenance service to the homes Places for People manages across the country. A team of 30 volunteers from both contractors gave up their time to work on the project, over a 4-week period. The community centre at the heart of the Windmill Project is currently housed in a temporary Portakabin building and was in need of revitalising. Thanks to Novus and  ENGIE it has now been completely stripped back and refurbished to create a warm and welcoming space for the vulnerable women and their families to meet. The project involved a complete refurbishment of the Community Centre and landscaping of the garden area. Externally this involved installing new windows and doors, external wall insulation and a new roofline. Internally this involved remodeling the layout of the internal areas including the installation of a new communal kitchen along with new toilets, suspended ceiling, lighting, heating system, flooring and a full redecoration including murals. The land to the side of the existing Portakabin community centre has also been transformed into an attractive patio area and garden for the women and their families to enjoy as part of the project. The new centre was officially opened just before Christmas with a fun event where service users and their families were invited to a kid’s party event that involved a magician, fun activities, food and drink and presents handed out to every kid in attendance. This provided the perfect backdrop for the service users to experience the new improved facilities.   Neil Hand, Novus’ CEO, said: “Social Value is something which we take very seriously at Novus – it’s very much at the very heart of our business and the way we operate. I had no hesitation in getting involved with this fantastic project for Places for People. It just shows what we can achieve for the local community by working together.” Novus has long been committed to Social Value and its Changing Lives programme, which was shortlisted in the National Business Awards earlier this year, was launched two years ago and has positively impacted more than 30,000 people in that time.
Working with the BITC to bridge the skills gap

WORKING WITH THE BITC TO BRIDGE THE SKILLS GAP

  12 DECEMBER, 2017
A seven-strong team from Novus recently volunteered to help at a career-focused event for young people in Stoke-on-Trent.   The special event was organised by Business in the Community (BITC) together with Humanutopia, a social enterprise which specialises in working with young people. Its aim was to appeal to young people who may have become disenchanted with the school to open their eyes to the world of work and the opportunities available to them. More than 100 students, all in Year 10 at four BITC partner schools in the city, were welcomed to take part in the day-long event, held at Stoke City’s bet365 stadium. The students were joined by a team of 17 volunteers from a number of different businesses in the local area including seven from Novus. The business volunteers were on hand throughout the day to share their experiences and offer advice to inspire and motivate the students as well as encouraging them to overcome any barriers to work they may face. As well as small informal group discussions with the business volunteers, students also participated in three sessions all designed to address any potential issues which students may encounter as they leave school to begin their working lives. The first highlighted the possible barriers to students’ future success, including their own attitude and behaviours and the impact this can have on others. Next, an interactive session run by Humanutopia addressed the key qualities and life skills needed to succeed in their future careers while the day concluded with a chance for the students to promote themselves to prospective employers with a pitch-style presentation. Our chairman, Stuart Seddon said: “I always enjoy the chance to take part in events like this and it was a real pleasure to be involved.  As a business, we’ve always put a great deal of emphasis on supporting young people and nurturing the next generation and it’s something I’m personally very passionate about. “The widening skills gap is particularly concerning for the construction industry at the moment. Working closely with local schools and the BITC, as we have done for a number of years, should help to close the gap to ensure the industry and our young people alike face a brighter future.” The partner schools and businesses involved in the event were all members of BITC’s Stoke Business Class Cluster. The group work together all year round to ensure that young people attending local schools gain the workplace skills they need to build successful working lives. 
Novus apprentices make homeless shelter feel like home

NOVUS APPRENTICES MAKE HOMELESS SHELTER FEEL LIKE HOME

  16 AUGUST, 2017
A group of enthusiastic new apprentices have helped us revitalise a homeless shelter in Stoke-on-Trent as part of our annual Apprentice Week. The Macari Centre, which is just five minutes away from our head office, was founded by football legend Lou Macari last year as a place of safety for those forced to sleep on the streets. As well as food and a bed for the night, the centre’s dedicated team works closely with local agencies to provide support and help the centre users to change their lives for the better. The Macari Centre provided the perfect place to host this year’s Apprentice Challenge, which forms a key part of our annual apprenticeship recruitment process. During the day-long challenge, a team of 26 apprentice hopefuls were joined by Novus volunteers to refresh the centre’s tired interior. The apprentices repainted two of the centre’s dorm rooms, a corridor and communal room as well as tidying up the exterior including the walkway which leads up to the centre. They also carried out minor repairs and constructed a new purpose-built smoking shelter.   The 26 young apprentices were selected out of more than 1,500 applicants from our successful UK-wide recruitment campaign earlier this year. With 53 applications for every single position available, competition for a place was fierce. The best candidates were invited to our head office to take part in the Apprentice Week of training and special activities which culminated with the Apprentice Challenge at the Macari Centre. Our senior management team and directors kept a close eye on the latest cohort of apprentices throughout the day and the successful candidates will begin working with us at locations across the country as early as September. Neil Washington, director from Novus Property Solutions commented: “The Apprentice Challenge is an invaluable part of our apprentice recruitment process. It not only gives the apprentices a taste for our day-to-day work and a chance to learn some vital practical skills, we can also see how well they work together as a team and how they embrace our values. “By getting involved in a project which is designed to help give something back to the local community, we hope our apprentices will be able to appreciate how important work like this is to us. “As a company, we are committed to nurturing talent and providing staff with opportunities to grow and develop in order to reach their full potential. This has been an exceptional year for applications and I wish all our new apprentices every success for their future careers with Novus.” For more information about building your career with Novus please visit our recruitment site.
Donation of training machine set to help SETA

DONATION OF TRAINING MACHINE SET TO HELP SETA

  03 AUGUST, 2017
We recently partnered with the University of Manchester to donate over £1500 towards a training machine for a non-profitable training organisation. The university regularly uses Stockport Engineering Training Association Ltd (SETA) and was therefore keen to contribute towards this beneficial equipment. SETA provides specialist training and consultancy services nationally and globally with many large multi-national companies especially in the Apprenticeships, Industrial Safety, Supervisory and Skills Development areas. The Industrial Control Trainer will provide delegates on a range of courses with a classroom based resource for practical investigation of automated control systems. The trainer will also prove valuable to SETA staff, helping to show contextualised links between Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The collaborative donation with the University of Manchester comes as part of a longstanding relationship, which has seen us provide planned and reactive maintenance for the entire campus since 2001. We aren’t shy about our dedication to turning around the skills shortage in construction and hope that, through gestures such as this we can equip people with the skills required to do great things in our industry.
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Contact Christopher Olley at Citypress
Telephone: 0161 235 0342
Email: novus@citypress.co.uk
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