date: 10th September

embargo: for immediate release

South Tyneside Homes are further cementing their excellent reputation for investing in the future as they receive the unionlearn Quality Award for the Delivery and Coordination of the Apprenticeship Programme prior to their Board meeting on Tuesday 11th September.

The unionlearn Quality Award is a kitemark awarded to organisations that are committed to working with trade unions and can demonstrate that unions and union learners are considered in the design, development and delivery of courses and programmes.

Beth Farhat, unionlearn Union Development Coordinator, will be presenting the award to Chief Executive, Isobel Riley in front of the full Board and will be joined by Quality Award assessors Dave Storrie, Senior Union Support Officer and Ian West, Regional Education Officer who passed them with flying colours. South Tyneside Homes also feature as a case study in the new national unionlearn Apprenticeships Toolkit.

Beth Farhat, unionlearn Development Coordinator said: 'I think this must have been one of the easiest jobs for our Assessors as everyone at South Tyneside Homes has been working together and delivering on this agenda for quite some time, and it is only right that they now have the official Quality Award in recognition of their progressive approach and successful partnership. The calibre of their Apprenticeship programme is reflected in the motivated, highly skilled workers it produces who go on to make an invaluable contribution to their employer and our region as a whole.'

On behalf of the four recognised trade unions (GMB, UCATT, Unison and Unite) at South Tyneside Homes Union RepAndy McIntosh said: 'Working collaboratively with the employer on the apprenticeship framework is crucial in allowing the Trade Unions to engage with younger workers with a view to strengthening both the union movement and the employer's organisation from an early age, while delivering a life skills opportunity for the individual. Young workers are the lifeblood of any organisation, whether that is a Trade Union or an employer. This partnership working with employers ensures that the social and economic needs of all parties are met.

'In South Tyneside Homes, the Trade Unions welcome having the opportunity to have access to this group of people from the start of their apprenticeship and right through their employment with the organisation, with the full support of the employer.'

Mark Whittle, Director of Investment for South Tyneside Homes said: 'We are delighted to receive this award from the TUC in recognition of the work we do with our apprentices. As a local employer and a forward thinking company we place great importance in employing and training apprentices.

'Now in addition to employing young people to learn the traditional trades, we are also training some this year for Administration, I.T., Housing and Customer Service, and we know that their time with us will stand them in excellent stead for their future chosen careers, whether it be with us or other employers.

'We are recognised as one of the Top 100 Employers of Apprentices in the UK and hope to continue this culture of training and education for the people who are the resources of the future.'


- A presentation, by unionlearn with the TUC, of the award has been scheduled for Tuesday 11th September 2012 at Strathmore House, 11 Rolling Mill Road, Viking Industrial Estate, Jarrow NE32 3DP. Delegates have been requested to attend at 3.30pm for a buffet lunch with the Board meeting to begin with the presentation at 4.00pm prompt.

Union Reps:

Andrew McIntosh

GMB Workplace Organiser

Mohammed Abuzahra

Unison Senior Shop Steward

Wilf Flynn

UCATT Senior Shop Steward

John Major

Unite Senior Shop Steward

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Media contacts:

Susanne Nichol, Marketing and Communications T: 0191 227 5553 M: 07771873108 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press release (700 words) issued 11 Sep 2012