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Training Excellence: Winner

Winner: AR Demolition

Training Excellence winner AR Demolition was lauded for “going above and beyond industry standards” with a series of intelligent and well-executed initiatives.

Led from the top by managing director Richard Dolman, AR has been able to successfully embed a culture that focuses on bringing people through the business.

Mr Dolman is keen to promote from within, with schemes in place for existing employees to benefit from long-term stints with the company, providing they help bring through the next generation as well.

One of AR’s initiatives saw it take on an internal auditor who visits all the firm’s sites, with each site manager receiving an audit every two weeks to highlight the company’s training needs.

Technology is playing a crucial role in the firm’s training drive through the use of drones and real-time recording, enabling a higher level of competency during training. Five apprentices have been taken on during in the last 12 months and paired up with mentors to ensure they achieve their potential.

The judges were particularly impressed by AR’s significant investment in a demolition simulator, with Mr Dolman claiming his was the first demolition company in the world to do so.

The business has also incorporated RedSky software to help improve its control of project management. Site managers are able to download vital data onto their iPads on site, including up-to-date training files and statistics.

“AR continues to be a progressive company that has once again gone above and beyond industry standards”

Judges’ comment

AR has spent £4.5m on plant and equipment including a Kiesel KMC 350 machine, which incorporated the ‘quick-hitch’ benefits, allowing the machine to change a number of different arms without any worker risking their own safety.

To get the best out of its workers, AR sent a number of staff to Germany to learn how to operate the machinery and how to maintain it.

Health and safety forms an integral part of the firm’s training programme, and AR has enlisted the support of Jason Anker, who created the Proud 2b Safe programme having been paralysed from the waist down in an avoidable workplace incident.

“He talks to the lads like he is one of their own,” Mr Dolman says, and the firm has signed a deal with Mr Anker to regularly sit down with AR staff members to tell his story.

In total, AR has invested in more than 5,000 training hours over the past 12 months, working out at around eight days a year per employee at a cost of more than £200,000.

The scale of its commitment and ambition left the judging panel in no doubt of AR’s exceptional training credentials.

Highly commended: Abbey Pynford Geo Structures

Amid what was a tightly fought category, the judges were unanimous in their desire to recognise Abbey Pynford Geo Structures with a high commendation for its outstanding efforts around training.

The company’s leadership demonstrated unrivalled enthusiasm for their company’s approach to skills within the niche market in which it operates.

Having been founded only three years ago, the judges said there was a “strong correlation between training and business impact” that shone through.

They praised several aspects of the company’s training policy, such as its 68-page handbook translated into a number of different languages to accommodate the various nationalities in its workforce, as well as the firm’s increased focus on training investment and clear ambitions to take this further.


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