Engagement of our employees is critical to the success of the Group. As a direct delivery organisation our people are our biggest asset.
Training and development
Investing in training is key to recruiting and retaining our highly skilled workforce. The Group supports a range of training and professional development opportunities for its employees throughout the business. Examples include Walter Lilly with 13 day release and sponsored students studying in construction and engineering management, commercial management and quantity surveying. Additionally, it also has two site managers completing their NVQ Level 6 in Construction Site Management.
Shepley continues to develop its apprenticeship training programme in partnership with Lakes College. VHE extends its long tradition of providing
vocational training through university placements. In conjunction with Barnsley College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (“STEM”) centre, the AmcoGiffen Academy provides 16 and 17 year olds with the opportunity to progress to apprenticeships. Although the academy is based in South Yorkshire, it provides training and apprenticeships nationally, supplying weekday accommodation for those students who will be travelling a long distance. The academy provides mechanical and electrical engineering qualifications and takes in around 16 apprentices annually.
Diversity and inclusion
The Group strives to create a diverse workforce and a positive working environment that allows all employees, regardless of their gender, disabilities, sexuality, race or religion to build their careers in an open and collaborative culture.
The industry in which we operate is historically male dominated and our subsidiaries work hard to recruit women into the industry through specific recruitment drives, supporting and increasing the opportunities available to women.
Currently female representation on the Renew Board accounts for 14%. As at 30 September 2020, women accounted for 13% of the total number of employees in the Group.
Our employees’ wellbeing is supported with a range of initiatives across the Group from health checks to healthy eating initiatives which our subsidiaries manage within their businesses. Examples include QTS which, through July and August as part of its rolling health surveillance programme, delivered over 120 face to face appointments for employees with Ayrshire Medical’s occupational health specialist. These appointments will continue through to 2021 to support the health and wellbeing of their employees.
At Group level the Employee Assistance Programme (“EAP”) provides support to employees in a number of our subsidiary businesses on topics such as finance, general health matters and mental health. The scheme has recently launched a new app “My Healthy Advantage” to improve engagement and reach within our workforce and includes the use of personal metrics to set goals and achievements.
During the year initiatives designed to improve awareness around the stigma of mental health were a focus and included training Mental Health Champions in a number of our businesses as well as having Mental Health First Aiders within the workplace to provide support to employees.
Since the Covid-19 ‘work from home’ restrictions were announced by the UK Government in March, we established a Covid-19 task force to co-ordinate advice and guidance to our subsidiary businesses, assisting them in supporting their employees.
Our subsidiaries used a range of employee engagement initiatives during the year including workshops, newsletters, social events, team briefings, employee surveys as well as training and development opportunities.
Specific initiatives to support our employees during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic included a cook-along with Home Cook School which helped bring employees together. QTS also undertook “The Great QTS Tour”, a virtual challenge that saw employees walk, jog, run or cycle 6,486km, the distance around the UK coastline, with the aim of helping to keep minds and bodies active.