Ocean’s new Chair tables plans for Group’s future

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On the eve of its 18th birthday, Ocean Housing Group has appointed its new Chair, education and leadership professional Debbie Wilshire, to take over the mantle from Dennis Spilsbury, who retired at the last meeting. Since Ocean took on the management of some 3,500 properties from the then Restormel Housing Trust in 2000, over £110million has been invested into those existing properties, and a further £144million into providing over a thousand new homes.

Ms Wilshire brings a wealth of board level experience to the growing Group of companies, which is headquartered in St Austell and employs over 240 local people across the parent group, construction company Gilbert & Goode and social landlord Ocean Housing. Her career has spanned legal studies, further education and the strategy and delivery of leadership and management, across Cornwall and nationally.

Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive, welcomed Debbie to the role:

“I have seen first-hand the quality of Debbie’s contributions as Deputy Chair and Board  member and I am delighted at the prospect of working together to deliver the Group’s ambitions and continuing our positive impact on the Cornish economy.”

One of Ms Wilshire’s key priorities will be to take forward the Group’s new Corporate Strategy. This sets out the plans for 2018-2023, which will include 800 new homes of all tenures and an investment of £145million in new and existing homes. In particular, this will focus on improving the energy efficiency of Ocean’s stock and help its customers to keep warmer in winter.

Debbie Wilshire spoke of her passion for Cornwall, on taking up her new post as Ocean Group Chair:

“Cornwall needs housing providers that combine the business acumen to get things done, with the social conscience that cares about the people in each one of its homes. I am really looking forward to working with my very impressive Board colleagues and Ocean’s excellent Executive team. Together we will create innovative and customer-focused developments and services. As well as meeting the ambitions of those in housing need across the county, we will ensure a flowing pipeline of business for our supply chain partners.”

The Ocean Housing Group website includes more information about the plans outlined in this article and how you can get in touch:

www.ocean-group.co.uk.

Ocean Housing Group wins Training Award

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Ocean Housing Group was recognised twice over for its track record on the training and development of its staff, and its commitment to apprenticeships at the Excellence in Business Training Awards event hosted by Cornwall College Business Training.

We were winner of the Outstanding Commitment to Training (Large Business) Award and runner up in the Outstanding Commitment to Apprenticeships (Medium/Large Business).

Mark Gardner, Group Chief Executive for Ocean Housing Group said

“It is great to be recognised for all that we’ve managed to achieve this year for learning and development across the whole group business.”

Staff at Ocean have benefited from its desire to be an employer of choice and Ocean has invested in training opportunities to the tune of £400,000 in the last five years.

This has been spent on skills training for staff and on educational qualifications. Ocean has run a number of training events for staff from IT skills to Understanding Mental Health. It has also supported staff to gain qualifications in Housing, Finance and Surveying, from NVQ level 2 and 3 to Degree level qualifications. Many staff have progressed from apprenticeships through to senior management roles.

Frances Turner, Managing Director for Ocean Housing Ltd explained

“We want to provide the support and opportunities for staff to achieve their full potential, by giving them freedom to try things out and do things differently and they are supported in that with the relevant skills and training.”

Ocean has worked in partnership with Cornwall College Business to take advantage of the last of the European funding available to provide Management skills training for its staff, providing CMI Level 3 and 4 qualifications. Ocean has also recently launched its own in house Leadership Programme called LEAP, run by IF Development, to help develop its current and future leaders.

Craig Rowe, Development Manager for Gilbert & Goode Ltd said

“I joined Ocean on a graduate placement scheme in the HR Team, before moving to Development as a Development Officer and have recently been promoted to Development Manager. Ocean has supported me in my professional Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor studies and I have benefited from a lot of in-house training too. I have really been able to build a career here at Ocean.”

Ocean are always keen to hear from anyone interested in joining our team who is innovative, ambitious and brave for the future and you can register your interest and receive alerts for job vacancies on the Ocean Housing Group website.

 Job Vacancies

Ocean Group Chair retires

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This December, we bid a very fond farewell to our Group Chair, Dennis Spilsbury.

There isn’t much Dennis doesn’t know about housing after spending the last 55 years of his career in the industry starting at Plymouth City Council back in 1962. Dennis joined Ocean Housing in 2002 as a Neighbourhood Services Officer. At that time, he was told his time with us was just for a few weeks; little did he realise it would turn into nearly 16 years.

“The best part of the role was getting out and about, meeting and helping residents. No day has ever been the same in my job and that’s why I’ve loved it,” says Dennis.

From Neighbourhood Services, Dennis then joined the Ocean Board back in 2006 and took up the Deputy Group Chair role in 2009 followed by Group Chair in 2011.

Mark Gardner, Ocean Group’s Chief Executive said
“Dennis demonstrates everything that’s good about Ocean Group. His commitment to us and especially the promotion of tenant and resident involvement is second to none. He will be greatly missed.”

Everyone at Ocean Group would like to thank Dennis for his long service and commitment to continually improving the service we provide. We wish him and his wife Gloria, a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Cornish Carpenter wins the apprentice

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18 year old Alex Prynne was crowned Carpentry Apprentice of the Year at the recent Cornwall Construction Training Group (CCTG) Apprentice Awards, the largest construction event in the county. Well over 300 attendees from the construction industry toasted his success at the awards ceremony, held at St. Mellion International Resort, Saltash.

St Austell-based Cornish contractor Gilbert & Goode recognised Alex’s potential and offered him a job in 2015. As well as working on a variety of sites and learning his craft, Alex is also studying his NVQ at Cornwall College.

The awards were presented by All Black rugby legend Zinzan Brooke.

‘Hard work does pay off!’

Alex spoke of his delight on receiving the award:

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Gilbert & Goode and having the opportunity to learn and train locally. I never thought I would be Apprentice of the Year but it just goes to show that hard work does pay off!”

Local Talent

The accolade is the latest success for Gilbert & Goode, part of the Ocean Housing Group, which has continued to create opportunities and invest in young local talented people, whilst experiencing double-digit growth year-on-year. Gilbert & Goode continues to be an employer of choice in the local area and provides a variety of recruitment opportunities.

Simon Caklais, Managing Director of Gilbert & Goode said:

“Our talented and enthusiastic apprentices are the future of our business and very much continue to be a part of our recruitment strategy.” 

For information about opportunities with Gilbert & Goode, keep an eye on our Jobs board.

Apprentices set sail at Ocean

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The start of August saw six fresh faces arriving at St Austell-based Ocean Housing Group Ltd to take up their apprenticeships.

Skills and Employment

Ocean has now supported over 100 local people to complete apprenticeships and gain skills and employment in Cornwall and is looking forward to working in partnership with Cornwall College to train these latest recruits.

Daisy Herdman shared her excitement at gaining an apprenticeship place:

“Carpentry was a trade I had been dreaming about, so it’s a great opportunity and a dream come true!”

All the apprentices will now benefit from an intensive period of induction to help them settle into their new roles.

Career Pathways

Mark Gardner, Group Chief Executive spoke of his passion for creating career pathways for local people:

“Ocean wants to be an employer of choice and create training opportunities for people and our apprenticeship programme is a key part of this and is always very competitive to secure a place.”

 Apprentices

The apprentices embarking on their new career are:

Daisy Herdman        
Apprentice Carpenter for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Christian Adams 
Apprentice Electrician for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Will Chapman      
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Property Services)

Emelye Thomas   
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Customer Services)

Emily Bowler    
Apprentice Business Administration for Ocean Housing Ltd, (Neighbourhood Services)

Chad Hughes
Apprentice Plumbing & Heating for Gilbert & Goode Ltd

Ocean takes on apprentices each year and anyone interested in an apprenticeship at Ocean, the next applications will open in April 2018, so keep an eye on www.ocean-group.co.uk/apprenticeships.

Ocean Housing Group Infographic

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Ocean Housing Group Ltd

Ocean Housing Group Limited is the Group parent and is responsible for Group strategy, Governance and Financial management.

  • £50m Turnover
  • 240 Staff
  • 800 new homes to be built over the next 5 years

Ocean Housing Ltd

Ocean Housing Limited owns and manages affordable housing, and develops new affordable homes to meet local need.

  • £145m Investment in new & existing homes over the next 5 years
  • 4,500 homes in management
  • 152 new Affordable homes being completed in 2017/18

Gilbert & Goode Ltd

Gilbert and Goode Limited is our commercial company which builds homes for open market sale, builds affordable housing for Ocean, and is a successful contractor.

  • 1,000 new homes built since joining the Ocean Group
  • £2m Gift Aid to Ocean Housing
  • Built Cornwall’s first BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ building – Prince Charles House, St. Austell.

 

Development Team flying high(ly commended)!

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Development team picks up Highly Commended at #RICSSW AWARDS and recruit a new team player.

RICS_2016_awards_acceptanceRICS_2016_awards_logo_highlyThe timing of last night’s award ceremony couldn’t have been better.

Only yesterday Ocean Housing Group was celebrating our 1000th new home since we started building affordable homes for local people back in 2003. Children from Connor Downs school were invited to send in their artwork masterpieces to turn a home into an Art House for the event.

The RICS Highly Commended award was for the Windmill House residential development at Fowey. Windmill plansThe new self-contained, one-bedroomed apartments at Windmill House address the need for high-quality, yet affordable rented housing designed specifically for over 55’s in the sought-after area.

The team also been nominated for the Housing Heroes awards (to be announced 27th June).

The Development team are now looking to recruit a Development Manager to join their team.
Application deadline 6th June.

Finance Officer

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You will assist with the effective delivery of financial and accounting services for companies within the Ocean Housing Group. The post-holder’s main role will be based in the purchase ledger function, combined with assisting in various other accounting support duties. Reviewing and maintaining the aged creditors listing, purchase invoice register, assisting with the preparation of month end accruals as required, reconciliation of supplier statements to the purchase ledger and prepare weekly payments runs along with dealing with general day to day finance queries. Continue reading