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Construction News Awards finalists: Training Initiative

Training Initiative of the Year finalists have delivered outstanding programmes for employee development as well as innovative approaches to boosting skills.

B4Box - Transforming Lives

Last year B4Box recruited its 100th employee from a long-term unemployed background - no mean feat for an SME builder.

The firm hired 13 apprentices for £1m of work in Stockport and became the UK’s only SME to create its own community construction college.

Over 90 per cent of the firm’s workforce were previously long-term unemployed, while more than 95 per cent of previous apprentices completed qualifications and remain employed.

Balfour Beatty - Customer Experience Board Game

To improve its service to customers, Balfour Beatty took a novel approach: creating a board game. The game plays like a traditional board game does, but delivers serious messages.

The training programme accompanying the game was delivered by a team of 10 internally upskilled facilitators.

It has been rolled out across eight of the company’s 10 utilities contracts, with customer satisfaction ratings on the increase.

Building Lives

In collaboration with a range of housebuilders, contractors and other industry organisations, Building Lives has established five training academies in deprived areas of London.

Each helps more than 50 people a year secure paid industry apprenticeships, with 80 per cent gaining sustainable employment.

By the end of 2014, Building Lives will have worked with 800 people and offer 400 apprenticeships per year.

JN Bentley - Developing the Engineers of the Future

In 2013, JN Bentley invested £1.4m and 28,000 hours in training its 700-plus employees. A particularly successful initiative was the firm’s in-house apprenticeship scheme.

Founded in 2000 with 12 to 15 school-leavers, intake has now more than doubled.

Apprentices spend time on site and work towards professional qualifications. Numerous former apprentices have gone on to become senior members of staff.

Kier Group - Kier Construction Supervisors Development Programme

Accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management, the Kier Construction Supervisors Development Programme aims to enhance performance of the supervisory workforce both within Kier and across industry.

The KCSDP consists of eight modules delivered by Kier managers and external consultants over 12 months. There is strong evidence of significant improvements in labour management and relations with clients.

Powerday / St George / Kotuku CIC - Kotuku Environmental Labour Project

KELP helped 40 young unemployed Londoners gain the skills and qualifications for work in the construction and waste industries.

With the support of St George, Powerday and Kotuku have 70 per cent of the participants in full-time work so far.

Ongoing support and onsite training days were held to keep candidates in the scheme, with participants’ personal testimony demonstrating the life-changing effect it has had.

Seddon Construction - Grow Your Own

Seddon recruits at least 40 apprentices each year (46 in 2013) and its Grow Your Own approach focused on continuous learning and professional growth.

The initiative created a pool of mentors and trainers within Seddon, delivering 4,500 work experience hours, 107 training and employment events and 1,890 college and university placement days.

In total, staff completed around 1,000 accredited courses in 2013.

Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil - SRW Trainee Programme

SRW has run its student and apprenticeship programme for more than 20 years, resulting in more than 90 young people being employed in the business.

Of those 90, more than 70 per cent are still with the business - some in senior roles.

With a simple ‘earn as you learn’ philosophy, the firm encourages students to experience different parts of the business and pick up leadership skills at an early stage.

Get a seat at the table

Call 020 3033 2657, email or go to to book your table at the Construction News Awards 2014 - hurry, places are going fast!

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