Regional players are making a strong commitment to their staff, and it has earned Southdale Homes first place in this category, which is sponsored by NHBC
Southdale Homes

Yorkshire housebuilder and social housing contractor Southdale Homes reviewed staff skills and motivation for both office and site operations two years ago as part of its business growth strategy. Among the many measures introduced since then has been a revamp of its building technician training scheme to attract higher calibre entrants. The effectiveness of that measure can be seen in the fact that it has recently promoted three technicians to quantity surveying, estimating and project management roles. Other benefits to come from its big investment in training – more than 2% of turnover – are a 24% drop in staff turnover and improved levels of customer satisfaction. The company is planning to build on its achievements and improve its training provision further by developing an intranet, holding joint training days with partner housing association clients and approaching statutory bodies to work with it to boost the impact of in-house training.

Stamford Homes

Training at Stamford Homes has been designed to give staff the tools to succeed in their own careers and to contribute to the company's business. With 11 members of staff winning promotion at the Peterborough housebuilder in the last year, the approach is already yielding results. Over the last year the company invested £150,000 in training against a turnover of £24m, and organised 1155 training days. It has supported 18 members of staff working to gain NVQ, HND, HNC, BA and BSC qualifications. Courses run by the company have ranged from business basics such as time management, through to sales skills and NHBC defects prevention. One direct benefit of the latter has been a 50% reduction in defects on new homes at handover.

Black Country Housing and CSG

West Midlands-based Black Country Housing has been recognised by the judges for a specific training initiative, which aimed to equip people who have learning difficulties with building skills so that they can apply these in building their own homes. The training has had to be tailored and modified to suit the individual abilities of each self-builder, and health and safety has been a higher priority than building skills. The special nature of the project demanded a significant training budget of 1% of project cost, but the group has learned a lot of lessons from the initiative.

a fantastic investment, which is producing tangible results

Higgins Construction

Recognising the housebuilding industry's shortage of traditional skills, Higgins has started training its own multi-skilled workforce, capable of carrying out plastering, carpentry, brickwork and making good operations. The company has also worked with Building Work for Women and Women's Education in Building to provide opportunities for women in the industry.