Novus apprentices make homeless shelter feel like home

  16 AUGUST, 2017
Novus apprentices make homeless shelter feel like home

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.

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NOVUS AND DULUX DONATE MATERIALS TO A LOCAL SPECIAL SCHOOL

Novus were already working on a building refurbishment contract at Horton Lodge Special School in Rudyard, where 3 respite overnight bedrooms were in need of redecoration. Novus and supply partner Dulux were happy to donate materials to the cause.  Horton Lodge Community Special School Situated in the picturesque lakeside village of Rudyard in Staffordshire, lies Horton Lodge School. As a special school, it aims to "provide high-quality teaching and learning where children are challenged and every individual is valued." The school caters for children aged from 2 to 11 years with physical disabilities, with many of the pupils experiencing additional learning difficulties, complex communication needs, and visual and / or hearing impairments. As the Stoke Sentinel reported in September, Horton Lodge was one of five Staffordshire schools that stood to lose funding for children’s overnight stays from this term before the funding cuts were ultimately put on hold. The refurbishment contract Horton Lodge has a residential provision known as "Kiplings" so named due to its proximity to Lake Rudyard. Kiplings is designed and managed to provide a homely environment for the school's children and young people.  The provision is designed to help build independent living skills as children learn to feed and bathe themselves, read to each other, and take part in creative activities. As part of the works, 3 bedrooms within Kiplings were in desperate need of refurbishment and redecoration, as the windows tended to leak into the rooms causing damp damage to the flooring and skirting. Novus were awarded the contract to carry out the refurbishments on the school, these works included: Refitting windows and doors to bedrooms Replacing the carpets Roof repairs Boiler replacement Shower refurbishments When complete, the refurbishments were described as a "real boost" to the school by the Headteacher. Donation of materials At the time, Horton Lodge were asking for donations of paint and curtains to redecorate their bedrooms in time for the return of the children after the summer break. Novus sourced the curtains and window tracks from a local Staffordshire supplier and donated them for use in the bedrooms. Supply partners Dulux also kindly donated the paint required to redecorate the bedrooms, which equated to over 65 litres free of charge. The school caretaker then decorated the bedrooms himself. Chris Lear, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Novus Property Solutions said: "It was our pleasure to donate these materials to Horton Lodge, the work they do with young people here is inspirational and we hope the children enjoy their new bedrooms."

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