Ringway appreciates driving winter maintenance vehicles is one of the highest risk activities which is carried out within our industry. However, the competency level requirements for undertaking this task doesn’t involve how to deal directly with driving in adverse weather conditions.
Research from within the company and through work with industry trade bodies identified a gap in the competency level. This lack of skill would be a contributory factor to the number of crashes that were taking place across the industry when gritting activities were being carried out.
Ringway identified a training partner to design, develop and deliver a bespoke course that replicates real driving conditions for their front-line winter maintenance drivers. The company truly believed that it has a duty to its employees, clients and the traveling public to make a step change within our industry.
With 538 drivers going through the course to date, this is an investment in training in the region of £270,000. This significant investment is already providing returns including a substantial reduction in driver incidents across the business. Drivers are also reassured as the company sees their safety as paramount. This investment in safety will continue in 2019.
The judges felt that this award showed great initiative and originality by going beyond industry standards to produce better outcomes for both Ringway and those who are potentially in risk of being a victim of road accidents in winter driving conditions. This scheme has potential to be implemented in other companies with a winter maintenance fleet.
The wider civil engineering and construction industry faces many challenges – an aging workforce, future skills shortages and a lack of minority representation. Wales also faces high levels of youth unemployment, with 573,000 people aged 16-24 reported as unemployed in September/November 2016.
One in seven 16-24 year olds are unemployed and figures are even higher in the South Wales Valleys. Young people who entered the jobs market during the 2008/09 financial crisis are now facing permanent unemployment or being trapped in low paid/insecure jobs.
To address these issues, Griffiths developed an all-encompassing training and development initiative called Apprentice+. The original aim was to increase the number of young people entering the construction industry through apprenticeships and critically address the skills gaps we currently face.
The aim was to start interacting with pupils in primary schools, continue to engage and inspire them through secondary school and college which will ultimately result in more young people entering the industry, with a clear idea of where they wanted their career to take them.
Additionally, Apprentice+ would also benefit Griffiths by helping to reduce the average age of our employees, increase staff retention rates and increase diversity within our workforce.
The Apprentice+ scheme stands out by not only being an apprenticeship scheme, but a scheme which has been developed with a wider social agenda in mind and has had a positive impact in doing so.
Ringway Jacobs has seen apprenticeships as a valuable way to grow and develop the skills needed to help close the skills gap in the industry, for many years. This has been achieved by making use of higher level apprenticeships for traditional early careers routes,
increasing the number of level 4 or higher qualification routes from 4% to 18% over a period of two years. This has made an apprenticeship with Ringway Jacobs a real alternative to going to university for many young people.
The development opportunities offered to existing employees have also been improved by the creation of Leadership and Management Development programmes at levels 3, 5 and 6. These courses have helped existing managers become great managers, by giving them the skills and knowledge needed to get the best out of the people they are responsible for.
By making the most of apprenticeships, we have introduced new talent into our business. This has made a real difference with 9.8% of our current workforce being made up of people undertaking a formal apprenticeship route. This increases to 16.5%, when we include former apprentices who have completed their studies, demonstrating a real impact on the skills and talents within our business.
Ringway is demonstrating how it is possible to maximise use of earmarked resources and create attractive training and development opportunities for new and existing staff. If other employers were to follow suit then the strength of the apprenticeship agenda will increase across the industry.
As a Tier 1 Supply Chain Partner to Highways England (HE), BMV are acutely aware of the challenges our industry faces in attracting, building and retaining the right skills required to deliver modern major infrastructure projects. We are active in our responsibility to directly address these challenges in order to retain the sustainability of our industry.
We have developed a robust site based training structure and we have a clear commitment to continually improve the capacity and capabilities of those working with us to help them achieve their maximum potential.
We believe we are doing something that is special within our industry on M5 Oldbury Viaduct and feel proud of the results we are now seeing in individuals we have supported.
Since the beginning of the project in 2017, the project team realised that for a project of this scale, employing over 500 people for 2 years, a rethink in the typical approach in regard to on-site training was required. To address we developed our training plan to increase the capacity and capability of skills within the construction industry to meet increasing workloads.
The judges noted BMV JV’s commitment to on-site training, which has produced very positive results in terms of a 2 million hour RIDDOR reportable accident milestone, and they are now continuing the efforts on other projects as well.