This award, sponsored by NHBC, goes to Countryside Properties, a company that really is investing in people and helping them to realise their potential

Winner: Countryside Properties

Countryside is making a hefty investment in its own and the industry’s future with initiatives such as its own training academy, which is giving sponsorship and management training to 38 undergraduates and graduates, and several routes to apprenticeships. Once it has attracted young people to housebuilding, it aims to help them realise their potential through its rolling programme, called Training to Succeed, which offers 38 courses for site and office staff. Add to that a 46-course health and safety training programme and a host of other initiatives and you can see why Countryside is not only a winner here, but featured in the Sunday Times list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Joint second: Willmott Dixon

White water rafting and army obstacle courses are among the less conventional activities undertaken by Willmott Dixon staff as part of their leadership and teambuilding training. The company also gives young site managers trade-awareness training, where they have the chance to practise construction skills. The company shares knowledge and explores ways of technical working through continuous improvement implementation groups.

Joint second: Ward Homes

Ward staff have been learning about motivation and the will to succeed from top athlete Sally Gunnell. Conferences with guest speakers such as Gunnell have become a feature of the company’s training programme, along with a menu of training courses, and masterclass evenings for directors and managers. The company gained its Investor in People accreditation earlier this year, winning recognition for its caring “family” feel.

Fourth: Stamford Homes

For a small housebuilder, Peterborough-based Stamford Homes is extremely active in developing its staff. Over the past year it has introduced a new staff induction process, an internal training team and new recruitment assessment centres, supported 18 staff to get NVQs and other qualifications and has given board and senior management training in such skills as effective people management.

Fifth: St George

An induction training plan, video and booklet are among the recent initiatives by the London developer. It has also introduced an appraisal system for employees attending external training under the heading: Making Training Make Sense. The company’s total quality management system encompasses training and the monitoring is undertaken using key performance indicators.

Sixth: Pegasus Retirement Homes

An internal survey carried out earlier this year showed that Pegasus staff are well-informed about the company objectives, feel valued and know how they fit into their organisation. As a result, 93% of staff are satisfied or very satisfied with their employer. The company recognises that people are central to its success and is committed to training and development at all levels.