Redrow, the multi-award-winning housebuilder,has reported a 19% increase in the number of trainees it has taken on this year, achieving a record 353 such recruitments in 2017 compared to 297 in 2016.
The trainees work across many disciplines across the company from general construction tradesmen and civil engineers to quantity surveyors and designers. With 22% of Redrow’s trainees being female, the proportion is significantly higher than the 13.5% of women reported as the industry’s workforce average.
The range of trainees includes a significant proportion of those undertaking construction trade apprenticeships, there are also many graduate trainees. There is a wide spectrum of qualifications available, from NVQ to degree, and the opportunity, over time and funded by the housebuilder, to join respected professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Building, the Institute of Civil Engineers or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Part of the company’s approach to training is the way that apprentices are encouraged to undertake projects in the community, as a way to develop leadership and management skills.
“Redrow’s work in the community gives our trainees a holistic experience that allows them to develop soft skills such as communication, leadership and problem solving, alongside their on-the-job experience, through working with local schools and charities,” says Karen Jones, HR director at Redrow and also trustee of the Construction Industry Training Board. “We feel that this rounded approach to development sets up our trainees for a successful future and ensures the next generation of housebuilders are the best they can be.”
Among current examples are graduates working on Considerate Constructors project, the Big Build Challenge, engage with local schoolchildren and get them thinking creatively about the environment, and a dozen graduate trainees from the area recently completing a project in partnership with Help Bristol’s Homeless in converting an empty shipping container into somewhere the city’s homeless population could inhabit.
Jones adds: “Redrow has a strong history of giving young people the skills they need to succeed in the housebuilding industry. This year we welcome another record intake of new trainees who will have the best possible start to their careers. The construction industry faces a looming skills gap that will only be exacerbated by Brexit. Housebuilders like us are investing in the next generation of construction industry talent and the government’s Autumn Budget contained a set of additional commitments to support more young people into the sector which we warmly welcome.”
Redrow is a member of the 5% Club, where a company commits to at least 5% of its workforce comprised of apprentices, graduates or sponsored students over the next five years. Redrow already exceeds this aim by far, with 17% of the total workforce as trainees.
One example of Redrow’s current graduate trainee team is Matthew Finch, who joined in September this year as part of the rotational graduate scheme. The 26-year-old gained a Bachelor of Science degree, a PGCE and an NVQ Level 6 in Construction Management before joining, and had also already worked on site as an assistant site manager.
Matthew says: “Although I knew I wanted to work in the housebuilding industry, I want to gain a holistic view of the business. The rotational scheme is allowing me to rotate in all the different departments before going into the department which is most suitable for me and the business. Thanks to the grad-scheme, I now know I will have the expertise and foundations to be successful within the business.
“I am looking forward to spending time scoping out new developments and like the thought of being able to take a scheme from the very beginning to completion with residents moving in and communities forming. I think that will be incredibly rewarding.”
His ambitions are strong and he already feels ‘at home’ with one of Britain’s biggest housebuilders: “I’d like to progress up the corporate ladder in the future and become more involved with not only building the best homes, but building them in the best locations. Since joining Redrow, I have really enjoyed the atmosphere and company culture. Everyone here is so accommodating and helpful. Despite being extremely busy, senior members of staff are always willing to take the time to set me tasks, ensuring that I fully understand and are genuinely interested in my personal development.”