Countdown to North West Regional Construction Awards

In the run-up to this year's North West Regional Construction Awards at the end of May, Place is running a series revisiting winners from the 2010 ceremony. Here we look at Skills and Education Award winner Bardon Contracting.

The skills and education award seeks to highlight those businesses with company-wide processes to support education and training. These systems may be aimed at filling the skills gap or up-skilling the workforce, attracting under-represented groups, training within the supply chain or developing specialist skills.

Bardon Contracting has consistently delivered personal training plans for all its employees since 2004, with more than 35,000 training days delivered between 2004 and 2009. This has culminated in all operatives gaining an NVQ level 2 or greater – and the training hasn't stopped yet.

With such a focus on competency and personal development it is little wonder that the business has seen associated benefits. Staff retention at the firm has improved consistently year-on-year, with employee turnover being reduced from 7.78% in 2006 to 2.25% in 2009. Absenteeism has reduced and financial turnover has grown over 144% since 2006. Client satisfaction, employee morale and safety have improved each year over the same period.

As well as internal measures of improvement, the business has also been recognised externally by the Constructing Excellence National Award for Health & Safety in 2008 along with being one of the first construction companies to be recognised as Gold Standard Investors In People. All of this has been achievable thanks largely to the firm's continuing development, training and engagement of its workforce.

Mike Archer, managing director of Bardon Contracting, commented: "A comprehensive training and development programme has delivered a more competent, informed and safer workforce, all of which has led to better business performance and further improved levels of customer satisfaction in these challenging times."

The firm has developed an internal People Performance Improvement Team, a group consisting of a cross-section of employees that helps the senior management team in shaping its national training development and overall 'people' strategy.

The company has recognised that an informed and knowledgeable staff greatly assists Bardon Contracting in the delivery of specific targets, as measured by the key performance indicators KPIs relating to the business. These KPI's are aligned to the Constructing Excellence toolkits and Bardon is consistently among the top 5 per cent of performers in the Construction sector for Training and is setting itself goals for continually improving on this.

Bardon employs regional training and development co-ordinators, which work with national bodies ranging from the ConstructionSkills to local providers.

As well utilising external providers, the firm also gives plenty of in-house training to ensure consistency, relevance and development focused on delivering business objectives. Training is offered right across the firm's supply chain to ensure a consistent 'team' approach for its clients – the firm doesn't just engage heavily with its staff and supply chain. They also involve clients in joint training, awareness and supply chain days. These have become a key tool in demonstrating and communicating the firm's goals and solutions for industry issues.

Annual national business roadshows, regional employee committees and regular workshops also add to the consistent communication across all levels of the company. Its performance improvement teams aim to ensure best practice is communicated across employee groups and individuals.

Bardon Contracting has used training to help improve the image of the construction industry, in general, from initiatives such as the Investors In People standard the use of KPI measuring along with an internal performance league table to encourage competition and improved performance.

Bardon Contracting believes that its commitment to training has helped it deliver a better service and quality of work for its clients.

  • Deadline for entries to this year's awards is Monday 7 March 2011 and the black-tie awards ceremony and dinner will take place on Thursday 26 May 2011 at Chester Racecourse. Tickets for the awards ceremony and dinner will go on sale shortly, however, if you would like to pre-book your tickets to this prestigious event please email Caroline Ellison on or call her on 0161 448 2424. For further information about sponsorship opportunities please contact Emma Looskin on or on 0161 295 5076.

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