Training consultant Uly Ma talks to Victoria Madine about Project BUILD, a scheme for helping managers improve the working environment
What is project BUILD?
Project BUILD, or Business–Union Integrated Learning Development, is a joint activity between my company, Greenfile Developments, and construction union UCATT. It is part-sponsored by the DTI's construction directorate (the Partnerships in Innovation initiative) and is aimed at delivering relevant training to supervisors, team leaders, trade union stewards and junior management in the industry.

Our programme aims to help people find the confidence to make suggestions for improvements in their company through five themed modules:

  • Building Personal Effectiveness: how individuals can enhance their leadership and management skills
  • Building a Balanced Company: all aspects of running a construction company, including finance, customers, internal processes and the developmental needs of the staff
  • Building Stakeholder Dialogues: how to resolve friction and reduce misery to the neighbourhood during construction activities
  • Building Environmental Effectiveness: how construction sites can reduce the environmental impact on the community
  • Building Health and Safety on Site: how to contribute to a safe and pleasant workplace.

The course uses a range of problem-solving management tools to find solutions to practical problems. For instance, if there is a problem with the supply of bricks, or perhaps the stock is taking up too much room, then there will be a way to help you analyse how to isolate the cause of the problem and how it might be resolved. People should then find it much easier to suggest resolutions.

Why these five particular themes?
The modules are chosen because they reflect the realities of the construction sector and they are all developed with one thing in mind – they are do-able and are aimed at making something actually happen.

Developing people’s awareness about how they behave as managers does not appear on the agenda of many training programmes

How will the modules be delivered?
As a series of five site-based 30-minute seminars for the supervisors, or as a one-day workshop. We are also developing A6-size pocket books full of handy tips and there will be a dedicated web presence on the UCATT website with e-books and guidance materials for downloading.

We are piloting the draft material as well as revising the draft products in response to feedback we have received. We are aiming for a product launch sometime this summer and are hoping to get accredited by the Construction Industry Training Board.

What is different about your initiative?
While there is ample technical training available in construction, there is less on leadership and management skills. Developing people's awareness about how they behave as managers does not appear on the agenda of many training programmes. However, introducing positive change in companies is about getting people enthusiastic and responsive to change.