Nottingham contractor Stepnell’s investment in training its workforce and nurturing the next generation of construction professionals has been recognised by the East Midlands Celebrating Construction Awards.
The company – based locally at the Eldon Business Park, Chilwell – took the People Development Award for its achievements in helping its staff develop their careers and encouraging young people into construction. Organised by industry organisation, the Built Environment Hub, the Celebrating Construction Awards celebrate the region’s leading construction businesses and individuals.
“This is a fantastic endorsement of our approach to training and our firmly-held belief that our employees are our most important asset,” says Stepnell commercial and operations manager Thomas Sewell, who was presented with the accolade at the Nottingham Belfry awards event. “With construction as a whole facing a serious skills shortage, supporting and encouraging talented young people looking to join the industry is essential. We also put a strong emphasis on working with our own staff to help them advance their careers. I’m very proud that the Celebrating Construction Awards have highlighted our achievements.”
Initiatives by Stepnell to address the construction skills shortage in the East Midlands include an innovative partnership with Leicester College and its supply chain partners which is helping construction students become ‘job-ready’ by giving them hands-on site experience. Stepnell has so far arranged site visits to construction projects for 60 Leicester College students as well as arranging 64 week-long work placements where students gain valuable industry experience on local projects. A number of students have gained jobs with Stepnell subcontractors as a result of the scheme.
In addition, Stepnell engages with local schools to encourage young people to consider a construction career by providing work placements, taster days and careers talks, as well as speaking to local colleges and universities. In 2016, Stepnell employed a total of eight apprentices following successful work placements, with one trainee going on to receive the National Federation of Builders Apprentice of the Year award. Stepnell is committed to ensuring that at least ten per cent of its workforce consists of apprentices, trainees or graduates and has consistently achieved this target over the last 20 years.
The award also recognises Stepnell’s emphasis on training and upskilling its existing workforce to ensure that all staff have the necessary technical skills and opportunity to achieve their full potential. The company has a dedicated training coordinator with every employee’s training needs assessed through annual performance reviews and a bespoke training plan produced to help them develop their career and abilities. The success of this approach has resulted in a third of the company’s 382-strong workforce having worked for the company for over ten years.
Major projects which Stepnell is currently building in the East Midlands include a £5.6 million six-storey building in Nottingham’s Creative Quarter for Nottingham Trent University. It will become the new headquarters for the university’s trailblazing Confetti Institute of Creative Technology.