News

Apprenticeships and beyond!

Earlier this week I got the chance to catch up with Edwin Evers to find out about his eight years at Aston Group, how came to work here and what he’s learnt in that time.

When Edwin left school he joined a college in North London to study plumbing. Unfortunately after reaching his third level the funding was cut, so the course stopped and there was no sign of it starting up again. He didn’t want to waste time so he decided to enrol on an ICT A-Level to fill the gap and began looking into other apprenticeships. He signed up to a support scheme run by Islington Council and after a year they pointed him in the direction of an apprenticeship they knew was available, for Aston Group at the Queensland Road contract in Arsenal.

He went for an interview with Bill Hayes and it went really well, so Bill offered him an apprenticeship. But Edwin had a hard decision to make. He’d been doing really well with his A-Level, already achieving good grades. Should he quit mid-course to take the apprenticeship he had always wanted or stick with a course he was showing skill at and see it through? Being the sort of person who says he likes to finish what he starts, it was a tough choice. Luckily, Bill knew this was weighing on his mind and wanting to find a solution that worked for Edwin had a meeting with Bill Shaw. They agreed that offering him the option to complete his course while also starting his apprenticeship was the best solution for everyone. A real win win for Edwin and a great sign that working at Aston Group would offer the type of support he was after in his career. 

So Edwin joined Aston Group on the 19th March 2012 (as it’s also his mother’s birthday, he can’t forget!) and has been with us ever since. 

Queensland Road was a perfect start to his career, being a new large development with state of the art technology. Luckily, it was also just down the road from his college, so he could go to work from 8-12 in the morning then complete his ICT course in the afternoon. True dedication! After a year, the college part of the apprenticeship began and Edwin was in a fairly unique position of already having a years worth of industry experience under his belt. 

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Creating a temporary workspace within the Waltham Forest Assembly Hall

Aston Group were asked to come onboard as part of the new MTC contract to reconfigure the Assembly Hall in Waltham Forest while the Town Hall was undergoing much needed renovations. The space had to be up and running with security and electrical facilities ready for day-to-day work. The turnaround had to be seamless to enable staff to move easily from their existing office to the newly modified work space.

Works quickly started to progress due to our very short programme. Aston Group managed all the works under the appointed sub-contractors via NPS for the new:

• CCTV system
• Access control system
• Fire Alarm system upgrade
• Acoustic baffle system to the new structure

Aston Group installed the temporary frame structure to the Main Hall serving the new lighting system, door access control and new CCTV system.

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Celebrating 50 extensions in Waltham Forest tackling overcrowding

Aston Group and Waltham Forest Council are celebrating completion of the 50th home extension, part of a £60 million programme of improving living standards across all Council housing stock.

Councillor Louise Mitchell, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness Prevention, visited the Leyton home of the Hobbs family, which is the 50th residence to be extended by the Council, working in partnership with Aston Group.

Robert and Linda Hobbs, and their two sons, were living in an overcrowded two bedroom home. The loft conversion has created a new bedroom and second bathroom.

Robert said: “It is absolutely brilliant. What the Council have done is made life easier for me and my family. It has given us more room, it’s like a different house.”

The shortage of larger, family homes is a challenge for many local authorities, including Waltham Forest.

Cllr Mitchell said: “This programme of loft conversions and extensions addresses a pressing need for families, providing them with the additional space they need to live comfortably and relieving their overcrowding.

“This is only part of our ambitious housing strategy. Alongside our plans to build new homes we are investing £60 million in improving our existing Council homes, including installing 1,200 new kitchens, 2,500 new bathrooms and 1,400 new central heating systems.”

Aston Group have developed a method to the extension works which minimises the disruption to the families during the conversions.

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Pipeline to Employment

Aston Group are committed to supporting our local communities by providing a pre-employment programme called Pipeline Into Employment, through a variety of pre-employment training workshops and courses, work experience placements, internships and apprenticeships. We appreciate that some people can find these types of courses daunting, and therefore fail to take up the opportunities on offer. If you are interested but are experiencing any fear or anxiety about taking part, please do contact us for a chat, as we will hopefully be able to put your mind at ease and can offer 1-2-1 bespoke appointments. Our sessions are designed to be fun ,helpful, down to earth, and easily accessible with friendly tutors in a very relaxed, informal environment. Don’t be put off by the unknown, let us help you achieve your goals, after all one conversation could change your life!

We offer FREE workshops on #CVWriting#InterviewSkills#MockInterviews, and #JobSearch #JobApplication advice. Usually held at locations in Waltham Forest and Romford, these are currently being delivered virtually due to the Covid 19 social distancing requirements.

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COVID – 19

In light of COVID-19, Aston Group is continuing to provide a service to our clients where social distancing guidelines can be maintained and where safe systems of works are secured. Our continuation of services is underpinned by Government guidance and in accordance with the site operations procedure – protecting your workforce by construction leadership council as well as the letter from the department for business, Energy & Industrial Strategy advising the continuation of construction works. Aston Group is working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that we are aligned and measured in our approach to the situation which is therefore subject to constant and ongoing review of our stance in relation to the guidance.

Aston Group are committed to being able to provide critical services and statutory compliance in these unprecedented times to ensure that the safety of residents is put first and that they are secured.

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Renovating and rejuvenating

Aston Group handed over the communal lounge at Dilwyn Court, a sheltered accommodation, last month. Staff from the London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF) as well a LBWF Ward Councillor attended. Cllr Mitchell said a few words with regards to the Grenfell Tower tragedy as it was the 2nd anniversary. She went on to say that Aston Group are updating all of the fire precautions within the building which includes doors, ceilings, paint, alarms and more.

Carlynne, Head of Sheltered Accommodation at Waltham Forest, said a few words about the project and had a lot of praise for Astons Group saying, all staff go the extra mile in their work.

More than half the residents attended together with a number of Waltham Forest Senior Management. Everyone was very impressed with the quality of the work and the fact that the programme was delivered on time and on budget! All the residents were especially impressed by the new layout of the lounge and with the new lights offering a WOW factor. One particular resident said that they loved the new kitchen and could not wait for their kitchen to be installed. An opportunity was given to all residents to view the kitchen units, oven and hob and installation dates were provided to everyone giving them plenty of notice before the refurbishment works commence within their own flat.

The opening event was very successful and everyone enjoyed themselves. Well done to everyone for their efforts and for pulling out all the stops.