Building Pathways 2016

Working Together – Can partnerships between private, public and third sectors help train and employ disengaged, disaffected young people to fill the construction industry skills gap?

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A wide range and mix of organisations, speaking at the 2016 Building Pathways event held on 8th June in Salford, demonstrated how they were working together to support local disengaged young people enter the construction industry.


Creating a new Pendleton – working together with our supply chain

s (64)Will Ashton and Julie Ferns of Keepmoat described how they s (109)were working with local housing association Pendleton Together and Salford City College to regenerate the Pendleton area of Salford and train young people for the construction industry. The overall investment is £650M over a 30-year period. They are encouraging their sub-contractors to work with and recruit from the local community. Due to the success in Pendleton, Keepmoat are looking to replicate the model elsewhere.

s (92)John Jordan of Pendleton Together stated that the key social benefits would be the creation of apprenticeships (79 to date), work placements (183 to date), engaging with those removed from the job market (4 programmes for the long term unemployed, 3 job clubs and 2 traineeship programmes to date).


s (58)Alan Milne of Salford City College explained how they had developed a partnership model, together with the local council, that challenged each partner to deliver the maximum social benefits for the community.

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Talent Match

s (151)Penny Anderson of BAM Construction and Graham Cooper of the Broughton Trust told us how they were utilising the Talent Match programme to create construction jobs for disengaged young people. Graham works with small groups of up to 10 people at a time, so that he can give them the initial support to become job ready, then the mentoring and ongoing support to help them make the transition into employment.

Given the background of the young people, 18 – 24 years of age, out of employment, education and training for at least 12 months, with significant barriers to employment (e.g. young carers, care-leavers, ex-offenders or lone parents, alcohol or substance misuse issues, health-related issues, including mental ill-health), it doesn’t work in every case.

When they begin they are not site-ready – no CSCS card and no site experience, not work-s (173)ready – time keeping, work ethic and chaotic lives and face barriers instead of pathways into employment. Graham and the Broughton Trust prepare them for work, and with BAM and their sub-contractors support them into ongoing employment. This partnership approach has transformed the lives of dozens of young people in Salford.

“Our approach is not safe and cautious. It is exciting, bold and risky because that is what works for our young people.” Mike Thorpe, CEO, the Broughton Trust.

Developing your own local workforce

Roy Cavanagh and Tony Costello of Seddon spoke about their approach to developing their workforce through the Seddon Learning Academy. This is not just about trades, but also technical, professional and management development.

s (197)They start by promoting the industry, with its’ wide range of jobs and career pathways in schools, provide work experience to students and seek to recruit apprentices from schools. They also work in partnership with local organisations (e.g. both Salford City College and the Broughton Trust) to create employment pathways. Around 10% of the workforce are current apprentices and many of the current mangers started as apprentices.

Most construction companies say that they want to play their part and train apprentices.

Do they really? Seddon do!

What do main contractors do?

s (255)Kier is one of the largest contractors, operating across a range of sectors including defence, education, housing, utilities, transport and property, and aims to provide safe and sustainable outcomes for our employees, supply chain partners, clients and communities. Jan Atkinson, Talent and Organisational Development Director at Kier stated that they are keen to develop their own workforce and currently had 331 apprentices working across a range of trades and skills; highways, construction, plumbing, IT admin, housing maintenance to utilities. There are a further 1,000 employees who are undertaking day release, degree or graduate programmes.

Due to the scale of Kier they are able to work across the country with the Prince’s Trust, supporting young people to overcome substantial obstacles to achieve sustainable employment, one of whom joined Kier following her Prince’s Trust programme and is now an Apprentice Supervisor.

Keir also runs “The Making Ground Programme”, working with 9 prisons, the programme is a combination of work placements and employment opportunities for inmates approaching the end of their sentence, who are eligible for Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL), and those who have completed their sentence and are looking for employment. To date 2,621 work experience 6 week placements have been facilitated, and to 90 ex-offenders enrolling on the scheme, of which 52 have secured full time employment.

In Cornwall, Kier partners with Job Centre Plus, Prospects, Kier Living, Spectrum Housing, Pentreath, Cornwall Construction Trading Group and Yarlington Housing, to run the Work Skills Academy to support those that have been long-term unemployed and disadvantaged back into the workplace with the appropriate training. 

Kier’s Gas Training Centre at Killingworth provides gas training for plumbing apprentices across Yorkshire and the North East. Since 2012 Killingworth has trained 160 members of the local community to become gas engineers. It has recently connected with the Career Transition Partnership programme supporting ex-service personnel into work through work placement and training schemes.

Cyfle Building Skills – Shared Apprenticeship Scheme

s (276)Anthony Rees of Cyfle talked about how the shared apprenticeship scheme had grown from an initial 25 apprentices in 2007 to over 140 today and how that will increase to 320 by 2020. It is the largest and most successful Construction Shared Apprenticeship programme in UK and is meeting the skills challenge through collaboration.

The aims are to produce competent, craft skilled personnel to not only meet the needs and challenges of today’s construction industry but more importantly deliver a sustainable flow of competent craft based operatives into South West Wales region for the foreseeable future and to educate, inspire and support people to develop careers in the construction sector throughout the South West Wales Region via a shared approach, supported by the industry, to make a significant contribution to training activity and achievement of the region.

The key to their success is in developing partnerships with: –

  • 3 Regional Training Groups representing over 130 construction employers
  • 5 local authorities
  • 4 colleges
  • 4 housing associations
  • CITB
  • The Welsh Government

Cyfle also seeks to develop positive role models for those considering entering construction, an example of which is where each year new 10 apprentices work on a project in Uganda with 10 who have been there before. The latest project is Kachumbala  – where Cyfle is involved in building a new maternity ward in Uganda, utilising the skills of 20 apprentices.