NVQ offerings for the workforce- is it worthwhile?

Everyone is talking about apprenticeships and NVQ’s at the moment, but how can that help you and your business to prosper?   We have looked at what they can do for your business, how you can access funding to lower the impact on the balance sheet and how everyone can benefit from planning for success.

 

Our business is based in an area of the UK with the highest levels of inhabitants without any qualifications. The construction industry is facing a skills shortage which is likely to deepen post-Brexit. So what do we do? We keep doing what we have done for the past couple of years…..we offer every single one of our employees the opportunity to develop themselves through NVQs or apprenticeships. With eye watering tuition fees, access to a university education is not necessarily an option for school leavers nowadays. More and more are looking for employment and a way to reach their potential without mounting thousands of pounds worth of debt, but are employers now feeling the pressure to fill the educational vacuum that tuition fees has created? Offering training is an expensive gamble – time away from normal tasks, added pressure to employees, resources required to offer those opportunities are not easy to come by for an SME. So is it worthwhile?

 

We have been working closely with our local, Dudley College, for the past 3 years to offer every member of our workforce the opportunity to develop their skills. The vast majority have taken up the offer meaning that around 90% of those at Howells Glazing are developing their skills through us in one way or another. We recognize that investment in our people builds a loyal and motivated team and obviously by developing our staff they become more skilled in the workplace which is a direct benefit to us. We recognize however that there are downsides to this too.

It would be foolish to ignore the added pressure people can feel when plunged back into a classroom environment, or perhaps haven’t had to sit an exam for decades (although exams are not compulsory). This can be unnerving and something to give consideration to. Also there is a great deal of time away from normal work duties which can have a short term impact on productivity. However we feel strongly that by investing in our workforce in an investment in the company and the local community. Based in the West Midlands it is perhaps important to note that this area has the highest level of inhabitants with no official qualifications compared to the rest of England and Wales (around 18% of people with no qualifications according to the Office for National Statistics in 2014).  An NVQ at level 3 is accepted as being equivalent to A-level and level 5 equivalent to a foundation level degree. When you consider that the average student graduating from university is burdened with between £35-£40k of debt it is easy to see the appeal of working for an employer where you can gain qualifications that will benefit you through life and also earn at the same time.

Many employers might be nervous about offering such qualifications in case those employees gain one and then leave. This is of course a possibility and no investment is without its risk, but we feel that our employees feel more valued as a result of being offered the opportunity to study while at work. Let’s not overlook the obvious – our workforce are becoming more skilled as a result.

So is it worthwhile? There is clearly an appetite for NVQs from employees, otherwise why would 90% of our staff jump on board? NVQs can be tailored to the individual employee and to the relevance of the employer making it an ideal win-win. We have benefited from an upskilled workforce and observed an upturn in staff engagement and motivation. Yes there is the risk that an employee may gain a qualification and leave, but there is a greater possibility that they will stay.

 

 

 

 

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How to get a job in construction; our top tips!

How to get a job in construction – the demand for skilled laborers with solid employability skills is becoming more prominent. We’re hoping to help more young people into the profession in a bid to plug the domestic skills shortage gap.

Here are some interesting statistics if you are wondering about how to get a job in construction. The construction industry in the UK accounts for 2.6 million jobs and it is expected to expand by 3.3% over the next five years. What’s more, according to recent RICS figures, an exit from the single market could mean that the construction industry will have to fill the void of 176,500 EU workers that the UK currently employs.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “The UK’s exit from the single market will put even more pressure on companies like ours to recruit and train our domestic workforce.  The construction industry will need to recruit 178,700 additional people over the next five years to fulfill the Annual Recruitment Requirement (ARR) of 35,740.  We have always made investing in our staff a priority for our business and we’re really excited at the prospect of helping to train a whole new generation of skilled laborers.”

How to get a job in construction

How to get a job in construction – Howells Patent Glazing’s top tips

We have put together a handy tip sheet below to show you how to get a job in construction:

  1. Decide on which construction career is right for you.

The first thing you need to do is decide which construction career interests you. If you’re not sure, you can use resources like the Careers in Construction Career Finder to help you narrow down your options. Also have a look at the different Types of Construction to get a better idea of what career to pursue.

  1. Get to know your chosen career

Once you know what area of construction interests you, call local construction companies and see if there are any job sites which you can tour, or call some local unions and ask if they can put you in touch with a journeyperson in your chosen trade, so you can ask them about what their job entails. Speaking to people in the industry and to learning what their field of work is like will prove invaluable, and is a sure fire way of deciding whether it’s the career for you.

  1. Once you’ve decided on a career in construction, you need to decide on which route of training you’d like to persue:
  • Register as an apprentice and combine on-the-job training with in-class learning.
  • Enroll for post-secondary training at a university, community college or a technical institute.
  • Or, find a job as an entry-level construction worker and learn the skills you need on the job.

    We see our continuous investment in staff as an enrichment programme, to ensure that every member of their workforce is satisfied in their job role, and is able to obtain the relevant skills needed to remain ahead of the pack within the manufacturing & construction industry. We regularly take on young work experience pupils in the hope of inspiring a new generation into the construction industry.

If you’d like to know more about Howells Patent Glazing, visit our homepage – www.howellsglazing.co.uk 

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NVQ’s – We’re proud to offer training to all of our staff!

Our rapidly growing local manufacturing firm is continuing to invest in our workforce, and the future of manufacturing by offering NVQ training to all of our staff!

Investing in NVQ training for staff has become an important part of Howells Patent Glazing’s working environment. Our firm is keen to address the skills shortage that is affecting businesses in the UK. We’re so dedicated to ensuring the whole team are educated to the highest level that we’ve been entered into the Construction News Awards for the ‘Training Excellence’ award!

According to The Employer Skills Survey (ESS), manufacturing businesses are most likely to encounter skills shortages. As a result, this accounts for 30% of hard-to-fill manufacturing vacancies.

One of our most recent employees to enroll on an NVQ course is Lewis Marsh, who has taken a role in sales administration.  He has since started undertaking a Level 2 NVQ in ICT and functional skills level 2 in ICT.

Debbie Willetts, training mentor at Howells Patent Glazing said, “We have to keep up to date with training with IOSH, CSCS, Platform etc. More importantly, we feel that it’s our responsibility as employers to invest in our staff.  Our long-term growth strategy isn’t just about processes; it’s about developing our staff by building on their qualifications and in turn, passion for our business.  We are excited to be rolling out new NVQ qualifications to all our staff in 2017”.

The ESS say that employers are spending £4.9billion to train their workforce. Continued training from manufacturing businesses like ours is consequently aiming to have a positive effect on the UK skills shortage.

Our investment in staff is, most of all, an enrichment programme. It’s important to obtain the relevant skills needed to remain ahead of the pack within the manufacturing industry.

As a result, of over 41 years of experience, Howells is continuing to show that we’re here to stay!

 

 

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Celebrate Easter in UK – predicted to be hotter than Spain!

Easter is fast approaching Sunday April 16th 2017 followed by Easter Monday, and here at Howells we are all looking forward to our Easter celebrations. Apparently it is predicted to be hotter than Spain according to the Met office so fingers crossed this happens.

 

Warm up to Easter

Not only is Easter the end of winter is also marks the beginning of spring.  The weather gets warmer, the daffodils are out and the trees are budding, so what’s not to like.  Easter conjures up bunnies, and chocolate Easter eggs and we adults can especially enjoy an Easter egg especially if you are a lover of chocolate, as many of us are here!

What holiday traditions do you have?   Fostering a happy work environment is key for a productive work force so maybe you could decorate your office with Easter decorations. This will create a happy festive atmosphere and get everyone in a Spring like mood.  Just putting up some Easter cards or maybe giving you work staff an Easter egg each might suffice in lifting the mood to more festive cheer.  One of our colleagues always brought in eggs around Easter and this became one of his favourite traditions

 

http://www.whatsupmoms.com/make/dye-free-easter-egg-decorations/#.WN4WJ28rKUk

 

Not a lover of chocolate, no fear the answer is here

If you don’t like chocolate maybe you could eat an Easter egg made of cheese. This actually exists, but not to my taste to be fair.

 

http://buff.ly/2nwW11z  pic.twitter.com/Oxp5MGblGJ

Maybe you could have an Easter egg hunt if you have a young family, this would be a fun idea as it gets the kids out into the fresh air and they will love the idea of searching for eggs or maybe Easter bunnies.

End the break refreshed and relaxed

Easter is a Christian festival and whilst some of us may go to church a lot of us on Easter Sunday will take the the opportunity to indulge in some rest, relaxation and of course, chocolate ready to come back after the Easter break refreshed and ready to tackle anything life throws at us.

Enhance your home

With hopefully some beautiful Spring sunshine on the way what better time to improve your home.  Have you considered getting one of our domestic rooflights installed? This would not only enhance your property, increase the value, and now that Spring is here and Easter is upon us bring light into your home.  We have bespoke and standard size rooflights assembled and constructed from thermally broken aluminium system.

 

 

https://twitter.com/howellsglazing

Enjoy your Easter celebrations from all at Howells

Whatever your plans are, we at Howells Patent Glazing wish you all a Very Happy Easter and enjoy the first long bank holiday weekend of the year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Women in construction; manufacturing firm tackles gender divide

Women in construction; There are many industries that are seen as male dominated, but few as much as construction.  Our family run industrial firm, based in the Midlands, want to show the trade that things are changing. Women are finding niches in every industry, including construction, showcasing the importance of inclusion.

According to UCATT, only 11% of construction workforce is female, and only 1% of workers on site are women. In fact, the Office for National Statistics states that the number of women in construction working as roofers, bricklayers and glaziers is so low, the numbers are unmeasurable. However, we’ve proved that the statistics are changing, and it isn’t all ‘doom and gloom’.

Tracey Jackson, our wonderful marketing manager here at Howells Patent Glazing said, “Whether you are a woman or a man, there is room for you within the construction industry.  For women in construction, picking the job, and company for you will be your first hurdle, but your success will completely be down to your tenacity and dedication to pursuing and developing your skill set.  There is a lot of support out there and we’re hoping to help women access the tools they need to ‘get ahead’ within construction. As a business, Howells Patent Glazing have always been a gender neutral business, and we’re hoping that by encouraging women to pursue a career in the industry, we can help to break some of the barriers that women feel are holding them back”.

Ranstad’s study ‘Women in Construction Industry 2016’ states that, by 2020, women are expected to make up at least a quarter of the construction workforce. The study also indicates that women’s pay packets rose by 6% per year between 2005 and 2015, and the number of females in senior roles within the industry was up to 16% in 2015.  A quarter of those in senior management roles earned more than £75,000 and 2% earned over £100,000 per year.

Debbie and Tracey from Howells Patent Glazing wave the flag for women in construction.

Tracey Jackson from Howells Patent Glazing explains why there should be more women interested in working within the construction industry.

The advice from us here at Howells Patent Glazing is that businesses are the ones who need to take charge, and drive change in order to attract more women into the industry. There’s currently a skills shortage within construction, and we believe that fellow companies need to harness and nurture the dynamics that women can bring to a workforce, in order to fill the void and bring the industry into the 21st century working environment.

To find out more about Howells Patent Glazing, visit www.howellsglazing.co.uk

 

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Marking the Days in March

March has seen many developments, but it has been also a tale of two very diverse stories this month, with it containing a celebration and a very sad farewell.

Colin Boyle was a long serving employee  of  9 years, who retired over 9 years ago, whilst we were at our last premises on Forge Lane, Cradley Heath.  Colin was our estimator for windows for our supply and install side of the business. He was much loved by all our staff so it was an emotional goodbye to a lovely gentleman.

To the other extreme, Walter Howells, our Managing Director has celebrated his 70th birthday this month!

He started the business in 1973 in the front room of his 2 up 2 down in Walsall with his wife Patricia.  At that time he was supplier and subcontract labour only.  The business developed over the next 10 years and by that time they moved to an office only above Castle Glass just outside Dudley Town Centre.  As the business grew, Walter decided better control was needed for the manufacturing process and lead times, so he took the leap and brought his first manufacturing premises in Junction Street in Dudley, West Midlands.

At this time he started to employ more and more people and these included 2 of his 3 children.  Gary, moved into manufacturing and sales and Debbie into accounts and admin.  It was not long after this that Dave joined the company in around 1996 and this saw the beginning of the development of office and admin staff support.

In 1997, the business could no longer operate with the limitations of the small factory, so another move occured to a 13000 sq ft factory on Forge Lane, Cradley Heath.  Walters remaining daughter joined the team, as a PA and contract support at this point. The staff levels increased to around 25 people here and manufacturing was happening all the time, even weekends to catch up.

It is also during this time frame that Walter joined CAB (council for aluminium in building), he became chairman of the Patent Glazing division and was pivitble  in writing the standards for Patent Glazing.

Manufacturing really took off by 2008 and more space was needed to really develop the Rooflight side of the business.  A new 20000 sq ft factory was acquired, on Woods Lane, Cradley Heath  and this is where we reside today.  Our staff have increased to 40 people and our accounts have never been stronger.

 

Phew!  Its safe to say that there have been a lot of moves and changes over the years and not to mention the impact of the recessions and high interest rates, but Walter has weathered all the storms to realize great success and respect from his peers.

 

 

 

 

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RISQS accreditation – Howells Patent Glazing gain accreditation for rail contracts!

We have achieved RISQS accreditation from the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS) after flying through the scheme’s rigorous audits last month!

RISQS is a supplier qualification scheme that audits and assesses suppliers in order to pre-qualify businesses to work with over 110 buying organisations throughout the UK.  The RISQS accreditation means that we are now able to tender for work within railway stations via infrastructure buyers, Network Rail, Transport for London and other train operating companies.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager here at Howells Patent Glazing said, “We’re so proud of our team for helping us to achieve RISQS accreditation. We have all worked so hard in order to make sure that all of our systems and communications run like a well-oiled engine in order to pass RISQS rigorous audits. This is a big deal for our firm, and knowing that we are competing with some huge names in the industry is an incredible feeling. We’re looking forward to making the most of our new accreditation and seeing what 2017 has in store for our business”.

 

Howells Patent Glazing - RISQS Accreditation

Howells Patent Glazing achieve prestigious RISQS Accreditation

Having previously worked on railway stations including: Windsor Royal, Bristol Temple Meads, Melton Mowbray, Loughborough, Stoke-On-Trent and Kettering to name a few, we’re well on its way to becoming the first choice provider of patent glazing systems for rail stations across the UK!

Not only have we had 40 years’ worth of experience in the industry, but we’ve boasted new product launches, a collaboration with industry giant Pilkington UK to launch their Suncool One 60/40 glass, record breaking turnover and workplace NVQ’s for all staff – and that was just in 2016! Howells are set to go from strength to strength over the course of 2017, and hope that by investing in our marketing and trade-show appearances, we will see another 40 years of success.

Don’t forget to come and find us at The FIT Show on the 23rd-25th May, stand number CAB04, NEC Hall 8.

Read more about us at Specification Online!

 

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Hoorah! Howells Patent Glazing will exhibit at The FIT Show!

We’re really excited to announce that Howells Patent Glazing are exhibiting at this year’s FIT Show!
By exhibiting at this years FIT Show, we’re ticking off a ‘first’ from our business bucket list.

In four years, The FIT Show has grown to become the primary exhibition for the fenestration industry. The show brings manufactures of windows, doors, flat glass and conservatories as well as installers, designers, self-builders and fabricators, together in one enormous event.  According to The FIT Show team, this year’s event will be as much as 60% bigger than any previous exhibition they have hosted.

Howells Patent Glazing will be at the FIT Show!

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager here at Howells Patent Glazing said:

“I am really excited to be a part of such a fantastic show. Howells have attended the last two at the Telford International Centre, but this year will be the first time we have ever exhibited. We’re hoping to meet lots of new potential customers and suppliers during our visit.  We see this show as a huge stepping stone to bigger and better things for our family run business”.

Here at Howells Patent Glazing, we think The FIT Show will be a new marketing vehicle for our business. Our firm has boasted new product launches, a collaboration with industry giant Pilkington UK to launch their Suncool One 60/40 glass, record breaking turnover and workplace NVQ’s for all staff – and that was just in 2016!

We’re ready to go from strength to strength over the course of 2017. We hope that by investing in our marketing and trade-show appearances, we’ll see another 40 years of success!

Find Howells Patent Glazing at The FIT Show on the 23rd-25th May. Stand number CAB04, NEC Hall 8

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How the City of culture can help local business

The rail industry is working together to deliver over £50 billion in a Railway Upgrade Plan: the biggest programme of improvements in rail since the 19th Century.

 

Investment

Investment is at its highest since the Victorian times and there will is a lot of work going on as the railway infrastructure etc has to be modernised to keep up with modern day living and as you can see a lot of money is being spent in the foreseeable future. Apart from work being carried out on improving railway stations the tracks, signalling etc will also be involved in this process.

Construction industry should take heed as this is a great and exciting opportunity to get involved and gain work in the railway infrastructure. To get any tenders from the rail industry is to get on the supply chain we at Howells have recently joined Railtrack as being one of their suppliers and for this we had to be Risk Approved by Achilles. This involved an auditor coming in and seeing that all our policies, risk assessments etc were bang up-to-date so we could join the list of suppliers.   All this involves us being RISQS approved (Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme) This is owned and governed by the rail industry. This has enabled us to demonstrate our capability and market our product and service whilst complying with industry standards.

Cultural Heritage

Railways have been part of our cultural heritage for nearly 200 years now and shall be for the foreseeable future.  When railways were introduced many people were actually suspicious of this form of transport, the very idea seems ludicrous now.

The first class reclined in luxury, not quite the same today but still quite plush compartments. The third class were given a rough deal though, travelling in open top goods wagons, the very idea seems appalling.  Although there have been a lot of complaints from passengers about overcrowded trains in this day and age we have still come a long way from the past, don’t you think!

There is something romantic about taking a great train journey and visiting a beautiful train station. An Ionic train station makes one feel nostalgic and evoke a mixture of excitement and wonder especially if travelling for pleasure.

Working with English Heritage

The English Heritage has listed its choice of 10 great railway stations which are certainly spectacular.  The list starts with London Paddington, and ends at St Pancras, where there is a larger than life statue of Betjeman.   Recently the growth of high speed rail has been accompanied by an interest in restoring and building train stations.  In London workers cleaned 300,000 pounds of dirt from the neo Gothic brick facade of St Pancras and restored 8000 glass roof panes.

Newcastle Central, Tyne & Wear which three arched glass roofs built in a curve It was the first true iron and glass vault on a giant scale and the ancestor of other great city station train sheds.

https://heritagecalling.com/2014/12/04/10-great-english-railway-stations/

We have some beautiful buildings housing train stations across the country, such as Bristol Temple Meads, which we at Howells have taken part in refurbishing. This was designed by the British Engineer Ismbard Kingdom Brunel, as you know is world famous.

http://www.docbrown.info/docspics/southwest/bristol/bristol01.htm

Our local station Great Malvern was designed by EW Elmslie in the Gothic style.   I have been to Malvern many times I would recommend taking a look the next time you visit this beautiful region.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Malvern_railway_station

Refurbishments

Refurbishing railway stations, beautiful as some of them are takes a lot of red tape and work behind the scenes and we at Howells have a lot of experience in station refurbishment. We have worked at Windsor Royal, Temple Meads, Melton, Mowbry., Loughborough, Shrub Hill, Stoke and Kettering.

We at Howells Glazing hope in the future to play a small part in restoring railway stations to their former glory and you could too.

 

 

 

 

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Black Country pride; Howells Patent Glazing delve into the history of Black Country glass making

Here at Howells Patent Glazing, we’re a proud bunch; especially when it comes to our industrial history. Fabricating and manufacturing isn’t unusual in this area of the Midlands, and the team behind our 40 year old firm have decided to take a look into the history of the area, and our roots in the industry.

The Black Country is an area in the West Midlands generally agreed to include Dudley, Wolverhampton, Sandwell and Walsall. However, there’s more to the Black Country than just the distinctive ‘Marmite’ accent.

Howells Patent Glazing, our industry trusted patent glazing and rooflight firm, are based in the heart of the Black Country. Industry roots date back to around the 17th century, coinciding with the discovery of an abundance of coal, iron ore and clay, making it an ideal location for the birth of industry in the Midlands. In the 1960’s, the Black Country was described as the best area for glass making in the country.

Tracey Jackson, our marketing manager here at Howells Patent Glazing said, “The Black Country has once again become an industry hive for most areas of manufacture. There are so many skilled people around here, who aren’t afraid of a little hard work, who make Midlands businesses so strong. We’re proud of who we are, and where we are from. Our family run firm have been based in Cradley Heath for over 40 years, and its heritage is important to us – It feels good to take a deeper look into the roots of glass making in this area”.

The development of the canal network meant that products and outputs were able to become larger as transport became easily accessible. The fruits of the local area became most relevant when the use of trees was banned in furnaces in 1615. An abundance of coal, silica and clay provided the ideal materials for glass making. Skills in the craft of glass making had to be acquired rapidly, and small scale glass makers became very popular.

Patent Glazing - The Crystal Palace

The Chance Brothers, a historic Black Country glassworks provided glass for the famous Crystal Palace building.

However, glass making on a much larger scale soon became possible. The Chance Brothers in Smethwick produced glass in such large quantities in the 19th century that it supplied the glass for the celebrated Crystal Palace. Other notable landmarks that have used Black Country glass are the windows in the Houses of Parliament, the glass used in the clock tower that houses Big Ben, and the Whitehouse in the USA.

With such rich history in the industry and glass making, it’s no surprise that the Black Country inspired the fabrication of systems to hold and support architectural glass. Long after the closure of the mines and the shutdown of steel mills and foundries, industry still survives in the West Midlands, albeit on a smaller scale.

Whilst we may not have been founded four centuries ago, our family team remain proud to have been born and raised in the Black Country. Innovation and hard work are the new resources mined in the Midlands, and show no signs of running out any time soon!

 

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