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Training Excellence: Winner

Winner: Clark Contracts

When Clark Contracts was set up in 1978, it was effectively a one-man operation. Today it has grown to an £80m-turnover company that puts training at its heart.

And the inspiration behind that training approach? It comes from the sunny streets of Catalonia, and specifically FC Barcelona’s world-renowned La Masia youth academy. 

This academy has produced some of the world’s greatest footballers, including Lionel Messi and Xavi, so how is the approach relevant to the Scottish contractor?

Clark Contracts established an academy of its own in 2006, with the vision that all employees undertake modern apprenticeships as well as college and university courses.

It provides funding for employees to take these courses, whether they are trade operatives or people looking to pursue degrees, with 15 per cent of its workforce made up of graduates.

During 2016, the contractor went one step further.

Working with Glasgow’s Caledonian University, it established a Master’s course, which it fully funds and allows employees to pursue at their own pace. So far, 15 employees have begun their studies on the first courses in Construction Management, Quantity Surveying and Management, along with bespoke Clark Contracts service modules, developed in-house.

The Master’s was conceived following consultation with employees who asked for further education opportunities for graduates and those with university equivalent qualifications and experience.

“Clark Contracts puts learning and development at the heart of its business strategy and its Master’s course was an excellent example of that commitment”

Judges’ comment

Over the past five years 13 employees have graduated with honours degrees, with a further 13 due to graduate in the next four years – all of whom will now be able to pursue a Master’s with their employer.

One employee joined Clark Contracts from school at the age of 16. In a decade with the company, she has since trained as a building surveyor and now leads a team of seven.

As well as providing bespoke training opportunities, Clark focuses on getting its academy apprentices real time on sites, with its joinery apprentices spending 88 per cent of their time in 2016 on producing joinery work.

All apprentices compile bespoke skills assessments created by Clark’s academy director and the company has introduced e-learning to ensure greater training opportunities for its site-based staff.

Our judges hailed a company that recognised how training could be at the core of its business plan – reflected in the fact that Clark Contracts boasts average training days per employee that are almost twice the industry average.


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