Rightly or wrongly it isn’t every day that the term ‘a man with a van’ is used as the basis of a success story – but in the case of one young man working for social housing repairs and maintenance specialists Mila Window and Door Maintenance it certainly is.
Lewis Sage is a great case study for those in the sector looking to engage with young people to fill the growing skills and labour shortfall. Looking for training and employment opportunities Lewis attended the 2014 South London Jobs Fair organised by 3D Change in the London Borough of Croydon. Among the companies attending and looking to engage with young people to offer local employment were Mila Window and Door Maintenance. Over nearly 30 years of trading the company has completed over 1.1 million repairs in the social housing sector – Business Manager Tristan Cooke takes up the story.
“A significant part of our business is based within the London Borough boundaries and we were wholly committed to offering our next employment opportunity to a young person from the area”.
“We are not untouched by the growing skills and labour shortfall affecting the wider construction industry in the UK so when the opportunity came along to be a part of the local jobs fair in South Croydon we put our hands up to be involved”.
“We are delighted that just nine months later we have a real success story to share. Lewis is not only fully employed with us, but has ‘graduated’ from our mentoring programme to become a full engineer with his own van carrying out technically challenging repairs and maintenance tasks within residents homes and meeting our extremely high customer care standards in the process”.
“It is a great achievement for him personally, for us as a company, and for the whole organisational team behind the jobs fair concept”.
An inspiration to young people and employers….
“The success Lewis is enjoying should serve as an inspiration to other young people looking for employment opportunities, and to potential employers looking for the confidence to invest in training and support for people from the younger generation”.
“Too often we hear negative stories about young people – here is a story full of positives; something from which everybody has benefitted”.
Business Development Manager for Mila Window and Door Maintenance Will Chan who first spoke to 3D Change takes the story further. “Being with clients in the area on a daily basis I know how important it is for them to see success in terms of the recruitment of local, and especially young labour”.
The right attitude….
“When Lewis first came to speak to us we followed our usual very rigorous programme of vetting and assessment. Key to us is of course the ability to do the job, but even more importantly the ability to engage with our customers in their own homes in the right way”.
“Being courteous and respectful to residents of our clients is a key driver in our business and what was important to us was to find someone who understood that first and foremost – we knew we could bolt the technical skills on to someone with the right attitude”.
“In the case of Lewis we had no problems at all in either area and he has quickly become a great asset to our business. He is a credit to himself, and a great example of what can be achieved through the jobs fair route”.
“It is a route we will certainly use again and we would encourage others to do so to”.
Commenting for 3D Change who organised the jobs fair, Managing Director Moira Skinner shared the positive message “When we come across companies like Mila Maintenance who provide a great service coupled with a drive to work within the local community it makes our job that much easier and that much more rewarding. It just reaffirms that by working together we can all help to make our communities thrive.”