Emma Bateman is part of the Business Improvement Team within Kier Housing Maintenance. Here, Emma shares details on a new initiative being rolled out across the business that will provide colleagues with new skills and a qualification and bring widespread benefits to residents.

The importance of training and upskilling colleagues should not be underestimated. I often refer to the famous quote ‘never stop learning, because life never stops teaching’ and its true, the moment you rest on your laurels, complacency can kick in. And that is certainly not a word associated with Kier Housing Maintenance.

Within the housing maintenance sector, residents are the focal point and rightly so. They are at the heart of our service and we continually assess our service to see what we can do to improve it.

As a result, we have partnered with leading UK training provider The Skills Network, who deliver a range of courses, including online distance learning, to deliver a training programme to all of our 700 colleagues. It is an online course that takes, on average, 12 weeks to complete with a nationally recognised qualification, an NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Customer Service awarded at the end.

The Skills Network has created this bespoke course that is flexible to our needs, so the course can be completed in stages, at any time of the working day and in ways to cater for a variety of learning styles. The modules highlight the importance of customer service, as well as looking at ways that it can be improved and evaluated. Each colleague is assigned a tutor to provide guidance and support along the way.

The first cohort has already started the course and our aim is to have all colleagues trained within 12 months. We will also be offering the course to staff of our clients and their residents as they assess their own career development and look to up-skill and gain more qualifications.

We are strong believers in sharing best practice and constantly looking at ways in which we can improve the training and career progression of our people.

Ultimately, equipping our teams with first-class training allows them to provide the best service possible to residents. We track our performance on every contract and constantly engage with residents to see what else we could be doing to enrich their communities – it comes back to the quote, our residents will teach, inform and educate us on their needs.

And how we respond is key, we are agile, forward-thinking and genuinely passionate about improving peoples’ lives. Our customer experience business partners are playing a vital part in this – as a leading maintenance provider we don’t just feel we should do this, but it is our duty to offer the best levels or care and satisfaction possible.” 

Darren Clarke, business development manager at The Skills Network, reflects on the benefits it will bring to the Kier Housing Maintenance team: “Through our bespoke initiative, all Kier colleagues can benefit from accessing certified professional development in a truly accessible and convenient training manner. With engaging online content and support from remote tutors, we are really proud to helping Kier support their staff on a national scale. It goes to show how you can really harness funding training to offer life-long learning opportunities for your workforce”.