Building Pathways 2015

The Building Pathways event, held in Leeds on the 18th March 2015, examined how to unlock the potential of disengaged, disaffected young people to fill the construction industry skills gap.

We need an additional 200,000 skilled workers in the construction industry.

There are almost 1,000.000 young people not in education, employment or training (NEETS).

Would giving / creating opportunities for disaffected / disadvantaged young people to train for and / or become employed in the construction industry help to solve the problem?

Adeana RaperAdeana Raper, Employment and Skills Manager of Henry Boot plc told how they recruit and develop apprentices over a wide range of skills and roles, with some going on to gain degrees and move into management. “Given the opportunity it’s amazing what young people can achieve”


Lorraine BlissLorraine Bliss, CEO of St Edmunds Society, gave a passionate speech explaining how they were often the last opportunity for disadvantaged and disengaged young people, who they gave a number of vocational opportunities to. How they supported the young people and that this led to them going into further education or apprenticeships.


Lesley BollanIngrid HoltLesley Bollan and Ingrid Holt of Barnardo’s explained about how their partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) worked with SSE recruiting from young people who had undertaken Barnardo’s pre-employment training and how they supported them making the transition into employment.

Joe BrennanJoe Brennan of Denbre told how he had started life as a joiner, moved into construction training running Notting Hill Housing’s Construction Training Initiative. He has now set up a shared apprenticeship scheme that gives employment opportunities to prospective builders, working in partnership with major contractors assisting them to meet their CSR targets.


Lewis MatthewsLewis Matthews, Runner up in the 2014 Young Builder of the Year Awards, an Assistant Construction Manager at Laing O’Rourke, told how he had been discouraged from going into construction at school, then qualified as a joiner, and is now undertaking a degree in Construction Management. His determination to succeed has led him to overcome his disabilities.


Brett BarlowBrett Barlow, the current Young Builder of the Year, who is an apprentice joiner at Chevin Housing, told us how he had overcome a series of family tragedies’ before gaining a place at Chevin’s Construction Training Centre.  From there he was then selected to be an apprentice (he is now studying for his NVQ Level 3 in joinery) and how he has now transformed his life.


Alison WatsonAlison Watson, Managing Director of Class of Your Own gave a highly inspirational keynote speech, sharing some of the problems she had overcome in her early life and how she had built Class of Your Own which supports young people through innovative environmental workshop focussed on sustainability in schools and their communities, construction as a profession to girls (and boys!). She illustrated that whatever young people’s backgrounds they can be engaged in practical and IT based learning, which has led to some of them winning national and international awards.

Could you help to create the “workforce of the future”?

  Neil Carroll

Neil Carroll Commercial Development Director of Toolstation, the Building Pathways event sponsors



Speakers at the 2016 Building Pathways Event

SpeakersBen Pritchard, Lorraine Bliss, Joe Brennan, Adeana Raper, Lewis Matthews, Brett Barlow,
Lesley Bollan, Ingrid Holt, Alison Watson with former Youthbuild UK chair John Gillespie