Steve is Operations Director for Concrete Structures at Careys, a leading independently-owned construction company. In the lead-up to the Olympics, Careys worked with us to help train long-term unemployed local people for formworking jobs at the Athletes’ Village.
Steve was involved in developing a programme of classroom and practical training for 200 people who had been out of work for several years. Some were referred by local shelters for the homeless. The training included workshops on handling power tools and erecting formwork systems.
Daily assessments and performance feedback were given. Candidates were encouraged to think of the training as an extended interview, during which they could decide whether they wanted the job. After completing the training, they spent a week putting what they had learnt into practice on site. This was followed by interviews. Around 60 were successful in securing employment with Be Onsite and went on to work with Careys, the host contractor, at the Athletes’ Village.
Early starts and working outside in the cold weather didn’t suit everyone recalls Steve. Inevitably some dropped out, but a dedicated core remained. Be Onsite and Careys worked with the Building Crafts College to develop an innovative NVQ Level 2 Apprenticeship in formwork erection for the remaining 27 employees. This Apprenticeship was the first of its kind. Being qualified, skilled and experienced helped most of them find other jobs in the construction industry after the Olympics.
Two of the cohort are now directly employed by Careys as carpenters. Steve is convinced that the partnership’s training investment is worthwhile:
“Helping the long-term unemployed into sustainable careers is absolutely the right thing to do. This programme was important because it gave local people an entry-level opportunity to climb a career ladder. If you don’t have qualifications or work experience, it can be extraordinarily difficult to get that foothold.
As a family-run firm we believe strongly in investing in our people and bringing them up through the ranks. We want them to stay with us, develop their skills and become part of the next generation of Carey supervisors and managers.
We have a really good relationship with Be Onsite. They are great at helping the employees with benefits, housing problems and personal issues. That enables us to focus on what we are best at - giving them technical skills for life.”
Steve is currently involved in recruiting more Be Onsite employees for two major building projects - Chiswick Park and the Kingsgate House development in Victoria.