Blog

#NAW2017 - Encouraging construction apprentices

Head of Social Impact, Huw Evans introduces the concept of Career Ambassadors in our guest blog below and explains how members of the team are trained to support and mentor apprentices and students, preparing them for a future career in the construction industry.

Since we secured a place on the Scape National Minor Works framework for the second time, we’ve placed an even greater emphasis on engaging with local communities and adding wider local value.

Currently, almost half of our workforce live within 20 miles of site and almost 70% of our project spend is within 40 miles of site. Whilst working on these schemes we spend a lot of time speaking with the local supply chain and the general public to listen to their thoughts and help deliver additional benefits to their communities. One of the topics that comes up regularly is training and learning new skills.

So we decided to act on this feedback and put in place a scheme called the Kier Career Development Programme, which is designed to create ‘Kier Career Ambassadors’ and we recently saw the first group complete this programme.

There are two aims to this initiative; to build the confidence of the ambassadors taking part and teach them skills that can be passed on to the next generation of local talent. The first group going through the training all work on different parts of the framework. For example, taking part we have Social Impact Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Team Leaders and Project Managers, which shows just how widely we’re looking to deliver this programme.

During the programme they learn how to give a well-rounded experience for students and apprentices as well as being able to effectively mentor and support them through the process. The skills they learn include coaching and mentoring, leadership development and safeguarding and teaching is delivered through a mixture of workplace activity, presentations and project management.

In learning these skills, they can then feel confident presenting at local events and forums, delivering outreach support at schools and colleges to discuss the work we do on a local level through our Scape projects, and talking about the wider economic and social benefits the framework brings to communities.

Donna Howard, Corporate Social Responsibility Co-Ordinator at Kier, underwent the training and commented: “I really enjoyed the training and found it very interesting. The course gave us all the skills needed to be able to speak to students and apprentices more confidently about the important work we’re delivering through Scape.

There was a really good range of people involved and the programme had a great mix of interactive learning and theory. I’d highly recommend the course and I think it will be of great benefit to our supply chain when it’s rolled out further.

Donna Howard, Corporate Social Responsibility Co-Ordinator, Kier

Although the programme is still in its infancy, it is already delivering tangible benefits as our colleagues get involved in a range of local events to attract apprentices and work experience students to opportunities on Scape projects.

During the first year of the programme we aim to train 75 of our employees and, longer term, we’ll also be rolling this out to our local SMEs supply chain working on our projects. Then they too can talk confidently about careers in construction and Scape-specific opportunities, as they engage further with local communities.

Huw Evans

Written by:

Huw Evans

Head of Social Impact

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