Plugging the Skills Gap for Supply Chain

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Last week we co-hosted the RE:GEN Super Sub Event, an event I’m sure you’ve all seen advertised on social media in recent weeks. Keen to know what it was about and why it was such a roaring success? Well keep reading!

As part of the RE:GEN Group, RE:geon Training are here to help businesses within Construction & Social Housing “RE:imagine” their workforces. Our relationship with RE:GEN is not exclusive by any means… Quite the opposite. Their support has created greater opportunity for us to help more businesses than ever before. From clients and contractors to subbies and stakeholders, there’s something we can offer to everyone.

Our solutions cover two key areas. Helping businesses address their recruiting and pre-employment needs and the delivery of upskilling services to existing workforces.

The SUPER-SUB event was an idea born between ourselves and RE:GEN, focussed on inviting regional employers/subcontractors, funders and representatives from education to talk about how we can align to help one another educate and grow the future workforce, as well as upskilling and equipping existing employees in the sector. The main objective for us was to understand the challenges felt across industry with regards to current skills gaps – particularly in “Retrofit” and “Green”, alongside the more traditional trades which remain firmly in demand. 

So, what did we discover?

First and foremost, the turnout for the SUPER SUB was fantastic, with over 100 participants from 79 businesses in attendance. Far exceeding our expectations for the first event of its kind. Not just that but the sheer optimism in the room from our attendees really shone through. Testament to the fact that with an engaged and enthused supply chain underpinning your operations, you really do yield greater results.

We kicked off the morning with open networking to allow everyone to become accustomed. Making new friends or simply catching up with old ones, it was a warm and welcoming setting to lead us nicely into the next part of our agenda. Around the room were 3 large posters with key questions posed. We asked each attendee to write down a response to each of the questions on the post-it notes provided to form as our narrative for a Q&A session scheduled for later in the morning:

1 – What challenges are you currently facing 
2 – What do you expect from a partner 
3 – Innovation & Ideas

We then progressed to the main presentation. Led by Brin Sheridan (Chairman at RE:GEN), Brinsley Sheridan (Partnership Director at RE:GEN), Lee Francis (CEO at RE:GEN) and I, we walked the room through the RE:GEN Group’s journey so far. From key achievements, to client base, the Decarbonisation agenda and upcoming pipeline, the guys firmly set the scene for what is going to be a pretty transformational journey ahead. Particularly with their desire to break down the barriers of traditional contractor/subcontractor relations.

When asked what our attendees expect from a partner, the responses were overwhelmingly clear. Subcontractors seeks 3 things: Trust, Loyalty and Communication.  

Three things that any relationship, be it personal or professional needs to work. But 3 things that are incredibly overlooked, particularly within the Construction sector.

As a Group, we want to create a level playing field for our supply chain through the power of collaboration, open dialogue and growth. To share in the learnings and support one another through the challenges. A truly captivating vision. But with so much change ahead for the sector, be it via Government legislation, the Decarbonisation agenda, and customer demand, how do we stay ahead of the game and prepare one another for the ride? Change is overwhelming at the best of times, and as an industry we need to be prepared. 

It was clear to see that every business in the room, no matter the trade or specialism, is struggling with skills gaps and attracting new people into the business. A major issue which is impacting their ability to adopt Green Skills and stay on track with their Net Zero targets…

70% of the entries on our post-its stated that their biggest challenge was recruitment and training, finding the right people and partnering with the right training provider.

It was very apt that my closing segment of the presentation sought to address these issues. Centred around the “Plugging of Skills Gaps” to RE:imagine your workforce for the future. I began with a brief introduction to RE:geon Training for those we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting before, before moving into what an employer journey might look like for a business who chooses to partner with us:

Regardless of business goal or objective, we support you every step of the way from devising your bespoke course modules, to advertising, taking the lead on pre-screening candidates, overseeing of delivery, onboarding and aftercare. We do this to make sure that you can concentrate on running your business –knowing that the development of your people is firmly taken care of.

During the SUPER SUB, I had the opportunity to outline some of the key programmes we currently offer, along with how we can further support businesses with access to various funding streams and grants.  

So, what programmes did I cover?

A big area for Construction & Social Housing at the moment is the provision of high quality Retrofit and Green Skills. Did you know that it is thought that we will need 80,000 Skilled Retrofit workers in the North East alone if we are to meet our Net Zero targets for 2030? That’s a tall order!! But we are pleased to say it’s a specialism we can help with. Through the recent securing of funding streams, including New College Durham and NELEP, RE:geon Training are proud to deliver a new 90-100% funded “Route 2 Retrofit” Skills Bootcamp.

Route 2 Retrofit is specifically designed for individuals 19+ who are “work ready” (be it employed or currently unemployed) and who would benefit from higher level learning / specific training in new areas such as Construction Green skills to take their career up a notch and fill current skills gaps. This programme includes a Level 2 Retrofit Qualification along with stacks of added value thanks to our Employer-led approach to the course delivery.

What’s that I hear you ask? Well, this means that as an employer, you will be involved in the design and delivery of the course from day one to ensure it taps into your business goals and growth strategy. We will allocate approximately 35 hours of the programme to work with you on devising bespoke modules that tune into specific areas of focus. For example, we can create modules specific to your employee’s roles and responsibilities, brand culture, vision, mission and values.

Alongside Route 2 Retrofit, I also introduced our incredibly popular BUILD UP Traineeships which seek to get 16–18-year-olds “workforce ready” within Construction. You can read more about the BUILD UP here. I also covered our new Going Green with Lean Programme. Dedicated to supporting businesses with the utilisation of Lean organisation principles, combined with Green Skills. A fantastic blend to boost business efficiency,  and aid in your transition to Net Zero. Check out our Doodley video for more info:

So, what was the uptake?

The presentations during the SUPER SUB came to a close to allow for further Q&As and a final networking slot. The feedback during our last hour was phenomenal. To be told that we have tuned into what’s really going on within the industry, uncovering the pain points and most importantly sharing ideas and solutions that can alleviate the pressure was the main aim of the event, and it’s fair to say we achieved exactly that.

So far, in just 24 hours since the SUPER SUB, I am delighted to say that I have 20+ meetings booked for employers keen to sign up to our Programmes. Most notably the Route 2 Retrofit.

We have also secured a new employer partner with Fortify Solutions (tag) who are set to start work with us immediately. Fortify are a specialist Building Integrity contractor based in the North East, providing services to local authorities, main contractors and private customers. Their service encompasses Wall tie replacement, Repointing, Insulation, Firestopping, Brickwork and concrete replacement and more, so getting to grips with the very best Retrofit training is essential to futureproof their people as well as their pipeline.

We will be running a tailored Route 2 Retrofit Programme for Fortify to grow their future workforce of Insulation Technicians and Bricklayer apprentices.

When speaking with Michael Scott, Director at Fortify Solutions during the final networking segment of the day, he said:

“We are excited to be working with such an innovative training provider in the delivery of our tailor-made Route 2 Retrofit programme, which will be specifically designed around Fortify’s areas of expertise within the sustainability sector.
“We want to focus on providing inquisitive and enthusiastic learners with an overview of all aspects of our work, and offer them a pathway to long-term employment and development within the ever-expanding sustainability sector.
“Nadia and her team are quite clearly experts in their field, and we are confident they will prove to be the perfect partner to assist in the delivery of our bespoke training opportunity to an untapped wealth of local talent.”

Thanks to the SUPER SUB Event, we have been able to engage with so many like-minded businesses who are keen to work more sustainability and share a genuine passion for developing their people. The Fortify team will play a huge part in the design and delivery of the Retrofit training we devise for them, so we really can’t wait to get started. Because of the bespoke nature of our courses, each one is incredibly different and we look forward to sharing in the learnings and experiences. We have no doubts this will definitely be one to watch!

To find out more about how we can support your business, just like Fortify, please contact me here to book in an introductory call.

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