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News

Discover the latest company and industry-wide news with our informative posts

Everyone here at John O’Conner is proud to welcome you to our brand new blog! Here you’ll find a whole host of information about our company and our experienced team.

We will be updating our blog regularly, so make sure to check back here often so you can keep up to date with all the exciting developments here at John O’Conner.

April 2017 News

April 2017  seasonal employment opportunities: Experienced grounds maintenance operatives sought for the summer season (April to October) UK-wide. If you would like to submit an application for employment please download an application form and email your completed form to recruitment@johnoconner.co.uk

Levy lift off: John O’Conner has been quick off the ground with its use of the Levy. At an Apprenticeship event hosted by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Herts Growth Hub and the Beds and Herts Provider Network, Managing Director Matt O’Conner pledged to use the levy to take on new apprentices and to improve the skill sets of existing workers.

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March 2017 News

New Contract Wins: We are delighted to announce the following contract wins:

Hampshire County Council Schools Leicester County Council Schools Cunninghame Housing Association Loreburn Housing Association Perth & Kinross Council Highland and Islands Enterprise

John O’Conner Apprentice visits No 10: We are really pleased for Emma Charlton one of our 2016 Apprentices who visited No 10 Downing Street. Emma started her Apprenticeship with John O’Conner in November 2016 and works on our East Hertfordshire contract. Her future plans include working on National Trust Sites and/or high end Horticulture!

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February 2017 News

John O’Conner are really pleased to finalise orders on our new fleet of Fiat Ducatos. These new Euro-6 compliant vehicles will enable John O’Conner to reduce our fleet related carbon emissions.

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January 2017 News

 John O’Conner are now a Centrica Top 100 Employer for Apprentices and are the Winner of the Large Employer of the Year for the East of England John O’Conner have acquired Golder Grounds Maintenance. This is a strategic acquisition to offer services in the North of England and Scotland. John O’Conner  have been selected as a Finalist in the Hertfordshire biz4Biz Awards 2017 programme for Best Apprenticeship Programme.

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National Apprenticeship Awards

Welwyn-based Grounds Maintenance company John O’Conner has been selected as a national finalist in the National Apprenticeship Awards Large Employer of the Year category. This follows on from their recent regional award as  Large Employer of the Year for the East of England.  John O’Conner continues to invest in apprenticeships.  In 2016, the company increased the pay rates of their apprentices. Their apprentices also benefit from additional training such as Royal Horticultural Society-hosted master-classes where they receive privileged insight into centuries-old traditional practices combined with modern-day techniques from experienced Park Rangers (former 1950’s apprentices themselves). We are a nation of gardeners.

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Three Peakers Ride Again

Six years ago I took part in the UK 3 Peaks 24 hour challenge to raise funds for Greenfingers. We were a group of landscape professionals coming together for a very good cause. Three years later I re-joined the group, this time we decided to go back and climb the 3 highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales but cycle from the foot of each mountain to the foot of the next in just 5 days. It was a massive challenge for some of us! But the bonus was raising over £26,000 for our industry charity.

This September on Sunday 18th,

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Apprenticeship Levy Are we ready?

There has been lots written in the press about the new apprenticeship levy, that is being introduced in April 2017. I believe it will change how we view and run apprenticeships beyond recognition. There will certainly be an increase of cash in the system. In the Horticultural Industry our new trailblazer standard has been approved and is now ready to be used as the framework for training operatives and supervisors. The whole principle of the trailblazers are to have good quality apprenticeship programmes that are employer led. If the reforms work as expected the whole process should be very straightforward from start to finish and this should have an impact on the skills gap.

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Young Enterprise Company Programme

I had a really enjoyable couple of days with teams from the Hertfordshire Young Enterprise this weekend. I had been asked to join the Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield District Council (WHDC) Cllr Lynne Sparks and Rachel Walsh also of WHDC to judge a mini competition linked to the youth company programme. Sixteen enterprising school student companies had been invited to come and set up trade stands to test their entrepreneurial and business skills.

The teams have been learning how to run real a real company that they have set up themselves, with help and advice from local business volunteers.

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Neil Cain Operations Director wins National Apprenticeship Award

Huge congratulations to Neil Cain, our Operations Director who was last night named the City & Guilds Apprentice Champion of the Year at the National Apprenticeship Awards at an exclusive ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House. This was one of the most coveted awards and Neil fought off competition from hundreds of other apprentices around England to be awarded the top prize.

The Awards, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise excellence in two areas: businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices and apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their workplaces.

Neil was chosen as the winner in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to apprenticeships since starting as one in 1980 in the Sunderland Parks Department.

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