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Training Initiative of the Year

Winner: Building Lives CIC – Building Lives

Those looking to enter the construction industry can expect more than just a fly-by course with this training initiative winner.  

Building Lives takes a three-stage approach to give people from all walks of life a chance to build their confidence and skills in the sector – with a twist.

This not-for-profit venture was founded by Lakehouse chief executive Steve Rawlings and relies on collaboration with local authorities and construction companies to kick-start a local academy in a London borough.

Building Lives partners with local authorities to transform unused and empty public spaces into bespoke training academies for local would-be apprentices.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this before and I think doing it could make a real change in the construction industry”

Judges’ comment

The team has opened five training academies in Camden, Hackney, Southwark, Sutton and Tower Hamlets, with a further six planned to open this year.

The team’s aim is to eventually open an academy “in every London borough and beyond” to help people across the country.

Kicking off with a taster course, anyone who is interested in construction but is not ready to commit to a career can try a five-day introduction to plumbing, painting and decorating and site levelling, with the chance to gain two credits for site levelling.

Following that, these budding construction workers will be put on a 12-week training course before beginning a 16-month NVQ Level 2 multi-skills paid construction apprenticeship.

The judges said the programme was “really ambitious… delivering fantastic benefits at a ground level”.

Eighty-five per cent of apprentices complete their 16-month multi-skilled paid apprenticeship, with 78 per cent going on to sustained employment after they have completed the programme.   

Building Lives also offers tailored DIY courses to meet different individual and community needs, including women-only and over-60s courses, when the training academies are not being used for the core apprenticeships.

The team said this came from discussions with local communities and has already started to have a positive effect on their training programme, as 10 per cent of Building Lives’ apprentices onsite are women.

The judges said Building Lives’ “academies became a genuine reflection of community demographics” and “reached beyond the commercial needs of a business”.

Highly Commended: JN Bentley – Developing the Engineers of the Future

An “individual and tailored approach” saw JN Bentley highly commended in what was a hotly contested category.

The judges were impressed with the £1.4m of funding invested by the group into its 2013 training programme and commented on the team’s “huge and extensive commitment” to development and training.

“A very well thought through, business-led programme”

Judges’ comment

JN Bentley uses its own CITB-accredited training centre in Skipton to deliver a range of courses.

They include apprenticeships, Qualification Credit Framework and CITB Safety Plus courses.

The judges said JN Bentley was delivering a “very well thought through, business-led programme… which was adapted by the company through an individual and tailored approach – shown by its 90 per cent retention figure”.


B4Box Transforming Lives

Balfour Beatty Customer Experience Board Game

Building Lives CIC

JN Bentley Developing the Engineers of the Future

Kier Group Kier Construction Supervisors Development Programme

Powerday, St George, Kotuku CIC Kotuku Environmental Labour Project

Seddon Construction Grow Your Own

Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil SRW Trainee Programme


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