Yarlington was created in 1999 to manage the former housing stock of South Somerset DC. Over the last 14 years their role has developed into much more than a landlord and Yarlington now offer opportunities across a broad spectrum of roles. With over 17,000 tenants and 9,000 properties, their focus has moved from providing homes to Building Communities, bringing with that change the need for a whole new range of skills and abilities. Yarlington employs 333 people, with staff satisfaction at 97%.
Developing Employees’ Skills
Yarlington invests £558 per person in learning and development on personal, professional and organisational learning. The need for new skills is considered with every business decision, recognising that without the right skills in place neither the business nor the individual can function effectively. Initiatives for developing employees’ skills include:
- Apprenticeships – 24 places have been provided since the scheme began in 2003
- Traineeships – shorter-term opportunities
- Bursaries – 20 staff are in receipt of a Bursary to study for a range of professional qualifications. This year’s Professional Training Budget allocation was £31,000 and learners are supported with time off to study for exams
- Business partnerships – cross-company secondments to provide greater level of experience and understanding
- Performance and Career Planning reviews – for all employees.
- Blended Learning – employees can learn in a way that suits them with our L&D Academy. This extensive skill building programme is delivered in-house.
- 20 internal Associate Tutors have been trained across the organisation to provide support and mentoring to their teams and colleagues. This not only enhances the skills of the tutors but also allows the employees open access to the help they need, when they need it from a person they already know.
- Corporate volunteering – a future programme to allow employees to give time for the benefit of others
Developing Residents’ Skills
Yarlington have also developed initiatives to give their residents opportunities to improve their skills, these include:
- Free careers advice service
- Provision of financial support to partner organisations to create of secure 46 jobs in 2012/13 and to support 163 into education or training
- Creation of Y.E.S. employment services in partnership with Inspired2Achieve of Yeovil
- ‘Resident Positive’ – guaranteeing an interview to those who meet all of the core criteria when applying for jobs with Yarlington.
- A dedicated employment co-ordinator to work with residents
Working with Others
Yeovil College has provided training for the mobile workforce as we move towards multi-skilled trade professionals. The College have taken the model and are now able to offer similar training programmes to others. The workforce also benefit from having a broader portfolio of skills that they hold for life. Clarke Willmott of Taunton responded to a request for notice of vacancies by Yarlington and appointed 2 residents into posts with the Intelligent Office UK who provide their business services.
Over £4,000 has been saved in the last 5 months, by providing a dedicated Learning and Development Business partner and providing much of the required training in-house. Yarlington plan to open up their courses to other registered providers, partner organisations and small local businesses in 2014, and envisage an ongoing saving from this reciprocal arrangement.
Yarlington believe investment in Learning and Development is directly aligned to business growth and that their innovative approach is already showing results One of Yarlington’s employees was awarded Somerset Apprentice of the Year 2012, and two young apprentices came third and fourth in the South West. Yarlington has also been awarded Investors in People Gold.