Satantar Singh with his NVQ level 3 certificate

VGC always goes above and beyond. This is evident in a lot of what we do, particularly when it comes to people and workforce development.

Our programmes include well-being, mental health, training, up-skilling and supporting apprenticeships.

Construction, like most other business sectors, has faced many new challenges in this past 12 months. However, throughout all the uncertainty we have been steadfast in our principles, and have continued to support the continued development of our workforce.

We have obviously continued to deliver our core training to meet our contractual and health and safety requirements. We have also supported our entire workforce with mental health and wellbeing programmes. And we have also initiated a leadership and management development programme, and secured a significant contribution from CITB.

Despite the challenges of COVID, we have continued all our NVQ and structured apprenticeship programmes. While initially this wasn’t easy, and we were very much planning day-by-day, we are all now more familiar with virtual learning and on-line assessment methods.

That isn’t all. We have brokered many new NVQ and up-skilling programmes, started several new apprentices, and seen existing apprentices complete their qualifications. (People like earthworks ganger Satantar Singh, pictured above. He received his NVQ level 3 in occupational work supervision from labour manager James Andrews just a week ago.) Our CSR manager Kimberley McGinty has been involved in online work experience, meeting over 160 school students since March 2020.

We are now in the advanced stages of introducing a new groundwork apprenticeship programme. This has been jointly developed over many months in partnership with The Skills Centre.

Ideally we hope to start a new cohort every three months. The new apprenticeship will help to nurture new talent: both young people, and people who want to move into construction from elsewhere.

National Apprenticeship Week #NAW2021

To grow our business and help the construction industry to succeed, we need to recruit from a diverse pool. As a sector, we have to do more to promote a better image of what we have to offer young people and new entrants.

There are some great initiatives. The Construction Leadership Council people and skills workstream and the CITB have supported the development of the Go-Construct website. We are members of The 5% Club and The Cross-Industry Construction Apprenticeship Task Force. both of which champion the culture of skills development and apprenticeships.

National Apprenticeship Week 2021 gives an opportunity to showcase our successes. These in turn help contribute to a greater understanding of the breadth of opportunities and potential job roles available in the sector. We hope it stimulates young people, new entrants and career changers to consider the construction industry as a career.

I urge anyone who is thinking of growing their construction career to follow #NAW21 and see what excellent opportunities exist to achieve their full potential in our exciting industry.

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