During National Apprenticeship Week (7th – 13th February) Vianet marked the successful achievements and commitments of our apprentices for the last 18 months. Apprenticeships are a brilliant option for people of all ages to launch their careers, or simply upskill at various levels within Vianet. Participating in an apprenticeship at Vianet allows employees to acquire valuable skills and experience as well as a recognised qualification.
Growth and Success for Young People in Teesside
To celebrate the hard work and graduation of our apprentices, Vianet held a Graduation Presentation Day on the 11th February. For this memorable event, Vianet invited the Executive Board and local dignitaries on site including the Mayor of Middlesbrough – Andy Preston, Leader of Stockton Council – Bob Cook, Principal Employment & Skills Officer – Roland Todd and Vice Chair of North East Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (NEAAN) – Alan Wallace. The day involved a short tour of the Head Office showcasing the great work within the organisation, meeting with the Executive Board and presentation of certificates to our apprentices.
(Photo: Andy Preston, Mayor of Middlesbrough speaking with our Solution Developer, Martyn Bell and Learning and Development Advisor, Maret Ward)
(Photo: Allan Wallace, Bob Cook and Roland Todd meeting the Vianet Team during site tour)
(Photo: Dignitaries and Vianet Team in the Board Room)
Vianet are proud to celebrate the graduation of the following apprentices:
- Rhys Debono, IT Support Engineer completed his apprenticeship with a Level 3 Infrastructure Technician qualification and has secured a permanent role within the team.
- Danny Liu, Data Analyst completed his apprenticeship with a Level 4 Data Analyst qualification.
- Ashley Heyman, Data Analyst completed his apprenticeship with a Level 4 Data Analyst qualification.
- Martyn Bell, Solution Developer completed his apprenticeship with a Level 3 Software Development Technician qualification.
Apprentices get to apply their learning and contribute to the work environment, developing the practical skills and understanding they need to excel in their role. The apprentices and their managers commemorated the occasion with a trip to an Escape Room for some entertainment at the end of the day!
Maret Ward, Learning & Development Advisor said:
“This was our first and I am sure the graduation event will now be firmly in the annual calendar. It was a great opportunity to recognise all of the hard work each individual apprentice has given to their continuous professional development; they have all given 110% commitment to completing their apprenticeships. I would encourage anyone within the organisation who wishes to express an interest in participating in an apprenticeship as part of their own learning and professional development to contact myself or their line manager.”
Our aim is to continue to grow the apprenticeship opportunities within Vianet following the success of previous cohorts. We are focused on providing continuous professional learning and development as the business continues to grow and develop into new verticals. If you would like to find out more about our apprenticeship opportunities at Vianet, please visit our apprenticeship page.
As part of Vianet’s aim to ‘Give Something Back’, over the next 6 months, we are taking part in various fundraising activities for our chosen charity, PAPYRUS. A team of Vianet employees are willing to put themselves to the test to take on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge as our HOPEWALK for 2021.
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
At Vianet, we understand that mental health can affect people in many ways. Recognising the way in which the mental health of so many people has been affected by the pandemic, it is more important than ever to focus our efforts on well-being during this period. Vianet continues to make a real difference to others by supporting PAPYRUS, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. According to PAPYRUS (2021), suicide is the biggest killer of young people – male and female – under the age of 35 in the UK. PAPYRUS operates HOPELINE UK, a confidential call, text, and email helpline for young people with thoughts of suicide or those concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.
Michelle Staniforth, Head of People & Development told us: “Our Vianet family told us they wanted to do more to ‘Give Something Back’ and whilst we’ve always regularly supported a range of charities, we felt that we could really make a meaningful difference by partnering with one charity for the year. The well-being of our people is always at the forefront of our agenda, even more so due to the pandemic, so we wanted to join forces with a charity that supports people with their mental health. PAPYRUS had previously been suggested to us by some of our employees, so they were the perfect choice for us.”
VIANET VOLUNTEERS HAVE THE STAMINA, GRIT AND DETERMINATION
A major fundraising activity on our list to raise awareness about PAPYRUS is the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. It is our organised HOPEWALK with one common goal – to smash the stigma and get conversation around suicide started. Our challenge is scheduled for Saturday 04 September 2021, just ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day. Currently, we have a team of 17 employees from across our organisation participating along with a support team consisting of 4 employees. Our volunteers will aim to tackle the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours, a total of 24 miles and 1585m of ascent. In preparation, our volunteers have already begun training for the challenge, taking on both local beauty spots, as well as the Yorkshire peaks themselves.
Rachel Little, Marketing Manager and Three Peaks Challenge Volunteer said:
“As well as fundraising for a fantastic cause with the team, this challenge is just what I’ve needed to motivate myself both physically and mentally as we come out of the pandemic and back into ‘reality’.
With gyms closing and restrictions in place, my daily routine has been completely shaken up over the past 18 months, as it has for many of us. This challenge not only gives me the push I’ve needed to get back into a fitness routine through training, but by giving myself a new challenge it has also been great for my mental focus and health.”
[PHOTO] Volunteer Neil Burton, Product Compliance Manager pictured in June 2021 completing a hike up Pen-Y-Ghent as part of his three peaks training.
In the upcoming months, Vianet have plans to hold other smaller scale events to raise funds for PAPYRUS, alongside the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Recently, to kickstart the Wimbledon tournament, we held a ‘Strawberries and Cream’ event and in August we plan to have an ‘Executive Car Wash’ where members of the Exec team will wash employees’ cars, for a donation of course!
Vianet is making a difference by fundraising in aid of PAPYRUS to raise awareness and support young suicide prevention. If you would like to support our team, you can make a donation at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/VianetYTP2021.
When asked what day is today, some of you will say it’s Friday, or the 10th of October, or the day before the weekend, or your birthday and the list can go on. None of these answers are wrong, but, now more than ever, it is essential for each of us to be reminded that today is The World Mental Health Day. Since 1992, The World Mental Health Day has been celebrated on every 10th of October in order to raise awareness about this topic.
Considering everything that has been happening this year, it is even more important for us to mark this date in our calendars and look for solutions to help us and the people around us to keep our morals up. According to a study done my MIND, this year over 16.000 people had their mental health negatively affected by the lockdown. With the fear of losing someone dear, the disappointment of having to cancel our plans or the frustration of being stuck at home, it is no surprise that we are all struggling to stay positive. This is why companies need to make the best out of today and offer their employees as much support as possible.
At Vianet, we decided to bring a fun twist to this occasion. Our dear colleague from HR, Emily Fell, came up with a fun and (literally) sweet idea to celebrate this day. Penguins! In case you’re wondering, no, we didn’t have real penguins running around the office. Instead, each employee could pick up from the reception desk a penguin biscuit to enjoy over a cup of coffee while chatting with their colleagues.
Since a lot of people had to work from home in order to maintain social distancing at the office, Emily concluded that, instead of just sending informative documents about mental health over email for people to read when and if they have time, what we actually needed right now was a bit of socialising.
It was a welcome reminder that even though we have to socially distance, we can still have a nice discussion over some coffee and what better topic of conversation than a joke about penguins. It was also a nice treat for all the employees for the amazing work they have all done during these difficult times.
‘The whole point of having a biscuit and a chat is to make people socialize with each other and remind everybody that despite everything that is happening and even though some of us need to work from home or isolate, you are not alone.’ Said Emily, the mastermind behind this idea.
It was the perfect opportunity for some of our new recruits to get to know their colleagues better and feel like they are part of our family. Barry McEvoy is a great example. With only a week since he started working for Vianet, he and his plush penguin, Pengy, became the stars of the office on the World Mental Health Day.
Tips on looking after your employees’ mental health
Because we are aware of the importance of good mental health, we thought to give you some tips on how to look after your employees’ wellbeing while following the government regulations on social distancing.
- Encourage socialising during breaks. Just because you have to stay two meters apart, that doesn’t mean you can’t still talk to each other during lunch.
- Make people feel appreciated. Any small gesture counts. Even if it’s a social media post, a small treat like a penguin biscuit, or a short email thanking people for their efforts, it’s important to show people how much you value their work.
- Organise small events where the regulations can be followed. It can be an online quiz (which Vianet hosted throughout lockdown for employees to partake), a social meeting on teams, a dress up for Halloween or any activity that is fun and will get people involved.
- Make your employees aware of the support provided by the company. Vianet has an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) which also includes mental health support for all the employees. Make sure that your workers know about your company’s programmes and where to look for help if they need to.
At Vianet, we acknowledge the impact the recent events can have on people’s mental health and we are more than eager to offer our employees all the support they need making sure everybody has a great experience working for us.
At Vianet Group we are great believers in ‘growing our own’. We’ve partnered with QA Apprenticeships, and their account manager Taylor Burgen. Taylor has played an integral role in helping us secure the right apprenticeships for our growing business, and taking the time to really understand who we are and our ethos.
Vianet welcomes new Data Operations Apprentices
April 2020 we have welcomed Danny Liu & Ashley Haymen to the Data Operations Team under the supervision of Maret Ward, Learning and Development specialist, and Kieran Alden, Lead Data Scientist. Whilst 2020 has brought it’s own challenges to the organisation we have still been able to commit to the grow within vision and invest £30,000 funding towards their Level 4 Data Analyst apprenticeships with QA apprenticeships.
Maret Ward said “Our apprenticeship programme is now an integral part of our business and we are excited at the prospect of further investing into the future with an IT apprenticeships and beyond.
By growing our own talent, and being committed to keeping it. We will have employees uniquely placed to fulfil all our requirements, who we know will embrace further apprenticeships as they become appropriate and will reward us with loyalty and add to our ‘corporate memory’.”
Encouraging growth and development throughout the business
Apprenticeships are not just about taking on new employees, they are about maximising the potential of our existing employees. Whatever their age, whatever their previous learning, the apprenticeship programme is about giving anyone the chance to develop and grow.
The company has previously taken on apprentices and its incredibly rewarding for everyone involved. To see employees go on to grow and progress a successful career off the back of it is fantastic, whether that’s been within Vianet or onto pastures new.
We are proud of Danny and Ashley and everything they have achieved. A great example of how apprenticeships not only give knowledge and skills on how to, but also proof that learning helps to inspire others who witness it. We cannot wait to see how their career unfolds and we look forward to helping support you with your future aspirations.
Not only have we taken on new apprentices, but as Vianet grows as a business, there is opportunities arising for students and graduates too. We are currently recruiting for a Marketing Intern to join our brand new marketing team through Teesside Universities’ Student Futures programme. Applications are still open for this position, so if you’re a Teesside University student and interested in applying, be quick. The deadline for this is Friday 7th August 2020. This position can be found at https://studentfutures.tees.ac.uk