Keepmoat walked off with this Technical Resourcing-sponsored award for the innovative way it has tied business expansion to its commitment to training

Keepmoat is a company with a massive ambition – to move from being a £150m turnover business to a £1bn one. And it is not doing badly so far, at £340m to date – but to get the rest of the way it knows it is going to need a lot of people power. This is where the Keepmoat Academy comes in. Set up to research existing £1bn businesses to see how they tick, the academy is able to then apply those approaches to its own programmes, from recruitment to career development to management and leadership. These latter areas offer diplomas in management studies, covering consortiums or supply chains, with a potential progression to MBA. All employees have access to an online virtual learning resource, and Keepmoat’s commitment to training extends to its 120 crafts apprentices. Looks like it won’t be long before that £1bn barrier is broken …

The judges said: “We are impressed by the fact that training is so obviously linked to business expansion.”



Barratt has a whopping 530 apprentices receiving training on sites across the UK, and a graduate trainee scheme with 60 graduates now on fast-track career paths (which is how the chief executive David Pretty joined the firm). The judges were impressed: “This substantial training programme runs all the way through the industry and is not solely focused on construction.”


Higgins decided not to restrict its training to its own staff. Instead it realised it could help solve labour shortages by setting up training centres that would give local job-seekers the skills they needed to work on those projects. The firm now has three training centres: in Rotherhithe, south-east London, where Higgins is undertaking a five-year estate regeneration programme; in Islington, to serve such massive projects as the King’s Cross regeneration scheme; and in Bromley, south London, where the centre is linked to at least 19 developments across the area.

London & Quadrant Last year’s number 12 in the Top 100 Companies to Work For list, the staff at London & Quadrant have every reason to think their careers will be looked after. What is unusual about L&Q is that its residents can feel the same way. This is because of the STEP programme – Supported Training and Employment Pathway – which meets the needs of social housing tenants who want to work in construction. It offers CITB-linked construction taster programmes, bespoke training and guarantees site placements. A brilliant idea.

The Unite Group

The UK’s largest provider of student accommodation, in 2003 the London-based Unite Group found that 13% of students were starting university life in a hotel. Determined to put this right, and recognising that the knowledge to do so already existed within the group, Unite developed the Hot-House Programme – a sort of brainstorming initiative that sought ways to learn from past mistakes. The result: only 1% of students required hotel accommodation in 2004.

Willmott Dixon

This firm spent £1686 on training for each of its 232 employees in 2004, 10% of the firm’s £3.5m profit. So what’s all the money going on? Well, there’s the Willmott Dixon bespoke training programme which covers off-site construction, sustainability and performance measures. And there’s the EcoHomes training, where employees become accredited assessors to be able to certify the energy efficiency of Willmott Dixon’s homes. Then there’s the 38 new graduates that joined last year…