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Construction News Awards Training Initiative of the Year

Winner: Kier – Developing Leaders

Kier group has an outstanding record for developing its staff. Not only has it increased the number of new employees on recognised development programmes from 879 in 2011 to 1,774 in 2012, it has also launched a Construction Team Leader Apprenticeship which takes new entrants through a structured programme of college and site experience.

The programme is also flexible enough to allow employees to step off the programme for a period and return, eventually graduating with NVQ levels 2 or 3, a foundation degree or BSc (Hons) degree.

The programme can develop a new employee into site supervisor over an eight-year period.

“A visionary programme, based on a clear and well-understood set of values, driven and supported by clear leadership. If all organisations did this, they could change the construction industry”

Judges’ comment

The first cohort of students on the Kier Construction Management Foundation Degree programme graduated this year. A total of 29 students graduated, many of whom now mentor other staff in the programme, passing on their skills and experience.

The foundation degree programme is so popular now that 132 students were enrolled in 2012, compared with 31 in 2008. The company is extremely proud of its level of retention among employees and students; its chief executive officer, Paul Sheffield, is a testament to this, having joined as a graduate in 1983.

Increased investment in employee development has resulted in a 35 per cent rise in the number of internal promotions within Kier. This in turn motivates all staff as they see a clear progression route within the company. The company states: “While a job for life is no longer a possibility, a career with Kier is”.

The overall level of training delivered by Kier has now reached more than 30,000 days. It has also developed its training programmes in line with current trends – mixing classroom learning, mentoring, onsite experience and e-learning.

More than 6,000 employees have taken advantage of e-learning programmes and 500 commercial staff have benefited from toolbox talks that were developed by Kier senior staff.

The company has also carried out safety training for 3,000 supply chain employees to date and has invested in training centres which can provide free or below-market rate courses for local supply chains.

In developing the Kier leadership charter, the company recognises how high-quality leadership drives economic success as a by-product of a loyal and skilled workforce.

Highly Commended: MWH – Apprentice Scheme

MWH invests in apprentices by providing them with a salaried year of study at Rochdale Training Association before starting work with MWH, where they spend three years on rotation across departments.

Apprentices are also encouraged to study for a part-time degree, funded by MWH, on completion of their apprenticeship.

“MWH demonstrates a clear emphasis on the power of education and its effect on creating a cultural change”

Judges’ comment


Bam Nuttall Beyond Zero

CSkills, UKCG, Wates Group, Skanska and Costain Site Environmental Awareness Training

Clarkson Evans Electrical Apprenticeship Programme

Costain Training and Talent Team


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