• Inspirational apprentice leader named achiever of the year

Inspirational apprentice leader named achiever of the year

"Chris Swaine is an inspiration and thoroughly deserved to win this award."

Chan Kataria

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The emh group Academy has crowned a remarkable twelve months with its inspirational leader Chris Swaine being named Achiever of the Year at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Midlands Awards 2014.

The Academy was established in October 2012 to provide education, training, skills and future job opportunities for young people. The first intake included thirteen apprentices across a range of service areas, from housing management and HR to marketing and IT. Earlier this year, a second batch was recruited and the Academy also launched its Traineeship scheme, an innovative pre-apprenticeship programme aimed at school leavers with few or no qualifications.

Chris was instrumental in setting up the Academy and its non-traditional apprenticeship programme, based on an approach which gives the recruits a much more rounded education, enabling them to fulfil their potential as individuals, as team members, and as a team within the organisation.

Last year a team from the Academy finished a highly credible fourth out of 92 teams in the National Apprentice Team of the Year Challenge, while another team reached the final of the UK-wide TSB Money for Life Challenge, running a project promoting money management skills to the local community.

Over the last couple of months emh group has been named Newcomer Large Employer of the Year in the regional National Apprenticeship Service Awards 2014, and won the Outstanding Contribution to Apprenticeships by an Employer award at the inaugural Leicester College Apprenticeship Awards ceremony.

The group could not have achieved all this success without the dedication and commitment of Chris Swaine. His infectious enthusiasm and support for the apprentices has also had an effect on long-term staff, the positive approach of the apprentices in day-to-day business bringing freshness and a new-found embracing of challenges and change at all levels of the organisation.

Matt Calvert, an apprentice in the Finance team at emh group, said: "I have never met anyone who invests so much in other people. He absolutely deserved to win."

Chan Kataria, emh group Chief Executive, said: "It is an incredible honour to be recognised for the work of our Academy, but none of it could have been possible without the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm of Chris Swaine. He is an inspiration and thoroughly deserved to win this award."