Register now for Efficiency North’s 4th annual conference & exhibition

Join social housing, construction and training professionals at Efficiency North’s 4th Annual Conference & Exhibition – Yorkshire and Humber’s own annual housing conference on 11th July 2019.

This year’s event will be bigger, better and more interactive, dedicated to building the future of our region’s communities together.

Hosted by BBC TV Look North anchor and Yorkshire broadcasting legend Harry Gration MBE, this event will showcase:

  • Efficiency: social housing procurement innovation
  • Futures: the next generation of housing and construction leaders
  • Build: new ways to deliver affordable new housing
  • Communities: working together more closely to deliver real opportunities for social mobility in local communities

On the Main Stage

Following a welcome at 10.00 from Efficiency North Chair Jackie Axelby MBE, engage in debates with 2 panels of sector leaders in Housing, Construction and Employment & Skills, lunchtime entertainment and the presentation of our 2019 Social Value Awards.

In the Brain Gym

Explore innovative thinking in a series of informative workshops will run from 10.30 to 14.30 to explore innovative thinking in procurement, new build housing, employment and training, social value and social mobility.

In the Marketplace Exhibition

Meet our frameworks contractors and suppliers, local and national organisations we work with and groups we support in our social housing landlords’ communities.

In the Recharge Room

Enjoy a quiet space to take a break, recharge yourself with refreshments and your mobile devices with power to their batteries, or meet up with colleagues or catch up on your messages.

This is a fantastic opportunity to network with decision-makers in social housing and construction and shape the future by sharing knowledge and ideas on the sectors’ hottest issues.

For more information and to register, please visit Efficiency North’s website.

Efficiency North’s growth leads to future career opportunities

EN’s 2020 Vision set out an ambitious 3-year plan to grow the company by doubling frameworks turnover, expanding operations from procurement into employment, training and housing development and establishing a holding company structure. As we move into the final year of the plan our vision is now in our sights and our collective efforts are converging on the achievement of our goals.

To ensure that we can continue to provide the high levels of service that our members and customers expect whilst we expand our services and offer further, we are investing in our capability and infrastructure, and will be opening up 7 exciting new career opportunities in Sheffield and Newport.

Are you interested in joining the Efficiency North team at this remarkable time in the organisation’s history?

Applications are now being taken for their exciting new opportunities! Visit their website for full details.

Supporting young people with the YBF Bursary

Did you know the Yorkshire Builders Federation has a long history of supporting construction companies in the region. As part of its strategy to support skills growth, it recognises the need to provide additional funding to break down barriers that could prevent local people entering or sustaining employment in the industry.

For example, Liam Copsey is an apprentice with EN:Able Futures. he was needing some financial support to help him with living costs.

Liam is extremely appreciative of the financial support we are giving him.  Living on his own he already struggles with payment of bills and rent so this is a massive weight off his shoulders and helps towards not getting in to more debt. He’s working hard to pay off his debts and keep his life on track!

Could you benefit from the YBF Bursary? Our application form is available to download here and provides the opportunity to apply for our bursary. Alternativelycontact us for more information.

“How an apprenticeship enabled me to pursue a career in civil engineering”

Ruth Watson has talked to the Institution of Civil Engineers on what it’s like to be an apprentice, and encourages students to consider this alternative route that can provide hands-on work experience, as well as a degree. 

Ruth begins,

“My journey towards an apprenticeship wasn’t straightforward.

“At school, I loved problem solving, and so a career as an engineer suited me. I was interested to hear about the different types of engineering available and initially was undecided about the field of engineering that suited me.

“We were encouraged to apply to university if we were able, and I applied to study chemical engineering at Manchester University and was given a provisional offer.

“However, during my A Level examinations, and unforeseen set of events meant that I didn’t meet the entry criteria.”

‘I realised that university wasn’t for me’

“It wasn’t until my gap year, travelling and volunteering round the world, that I reflected on the type of career I’d like and the way I learn. I realised that university wasn’t for me.

“I therefore began to look at apprenticeships. I started to investigate the different types of engineering apprenticeships and was drawn to civil engineering as it played to my strengths. I like the way civil engineering uses a broad range of skills, from planning and design to surveying, construction management and analysis. Having the opportunity to work in the office and on site stood out for me.

Apprenticeships open up a whole new world of options

“I was shocked at the variety of different levels of apprenticeships there are. Finding out that on a degree apprenticeship I could still acquire a degree, which would be fully sponsored by my employer, while learning on the job, was very exciting.

“It also left me confused about why there’s a certain stigma about apprenticeships and why they aren’t publicised more.

“Why wasn’t I told of apprenticeships at my school? I didn’t hear of apprenticeships at all at school and applying for one was unheard of. Apprenticeships were looked down upon, as no information was provided about them, so people stereotypically associated them with those who didn’t do very well academically.

“After doing my own research, I applied for a civil engineering apprenticeship and managed to succeed in getting a job as a civil engineer apprentice at Mott MacDonald. I began my apprenticeship in September 2017 and so I’m a year and a half into my apprenticeship.

How you can get a degree as an apprentice

“Overall, it takes five years to achieve a civil engineering degree part-time.

“As an apprentice, you can also achieve EngTech, which is a professional qualification that shows you’re competent and enables you to prepare for incorporated or chartership in civil engineering.

“My apprenticeship involves day release study at Leeds College of Building, where I earn my civil engineering qualification. The other four days are spent at work, either in the office or on site. I currently work in the water sector in the dams and reservoirs team in Leeds doing some captivating work, mainly working on reservoir safety.

“My job role is very varied which makes it hard to outline what I do day-to-day.

“Being a civil engineer apprentice isn’t simply a designer role, there are aspects of project management, planning, calculations and detailed design.

“Being an apprentice exposes you to different aspects of the industry, learning skills that you can’t learn in a lecture theatre.”

Studying and working – a perfect partnership

“Studying and working, I find, go hand in hand. What I learn at college I can directly apply to work the following day. I find that I consolidate my knowledge learnt at college by applying it to practical situations.

“So being an apprentice comes with great opportunities for learning and applying civil engineering knowledge as soon as you learn it, which is great for someone like me, a hands-on learner.

“Seeing my calculations and designs being created into construction drawings that then go on to being built is a great personal achievement. The past year and a half have gone extremely quickly, and I’ve had some great opportunities to grow not only in my knowledge of engineering, but in my experience of working in an office, working with all types of professionals and even presenting meetings and visiting works on site.”

A supportive environment

“As an apprentice I’ve found that there’s a large amount of support available through your employer and your college or university, as they’re taking the time to invest in you, and therefore want you to succeed.

“Typically, every apprentice has a mentor who will monitor your progress and help you to develop in the industry, ensuring that you’re doing the correct type of work that will enable you to progress.

“The civil engineering industry is so broad with all the different sectors. It’s exciting to think that in the past 18 months I have only just scraped the surface. There’s so much more to learn even just in the water sector that I’m working in, let alone all the other sectors.

“I’d encourage students to consider an apprenticeship when looking into higher education. University is a great option for some, however, some thrive learning on the job.

“A degree apprenticeship is another route to achieving your degree while continually gaining experience, skills and respect in the workplace, with the benefit of being paid and not building up student debt!”

Find out more about apprenticeships in civil engineering here.

[Source: Institution of Civil Engineers]

Author: Ruth Watson,
Civil Engineer Apprentice at Mott MacDonald

A quarter of Yorkshire and the Humber councils are failing to tackle the housing crisis

The Government has released its housing delivery test results, showing that a third of local authorities across the country are failing to address the housing crisis.

The results show that 108 local authorities delivered less than 95% of the homes their local community needs, with 21 being required to publish action plans explaining why they missed their targets and what action they will take.

The remaining 87, who delivered between 35% and 85% of their housing need, will be required to add 20% more homes to their five year land supply.

No area delivered less than 25% of their housing need, which means that no council will face the penalty of ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’. However, the presumption penalty threshold will increase to 45% in November 2019 and to 65% in November 2020.

If the Government had not extended the deadline to meet the 65% threshold until 2020, 32 local authorities would have been subject to the penalty.

In Yorkshire and the Humber a quarter of local authorities failed to deliver enough homes, with four being subject to a 20% buffer, requiring them to add 20% more homes to their five year land supply.

Bradford, Kirklees and North Lincolnshire came close to falling below the future 65% threshold, delivering 76%, 75%, 73% respectively. Calderdale is in real danger of falling below the threshold in November 2019 as it delivered only 36% of housing demand.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) understands the challenges local authorities face in meeting housing demand, but remains concerned that so many councils are missing their targets leaving us a shortfall of more than 220,000 new homes.

As local developers, NFB members would have liked to see local authorities in control of their own housing destiny. However, given their frequent failures to meet housing demand and accurately assess housing need, we welcome the blunt instrument that the Government is wielding.

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the NFB, said:

“Since the carrot of meeting housing need themselves is not enticing enough for local planners, the Government’s stick of penalties and buffers is clearly required. We have a housing crisis and the Government is taking appropriate steps to fix it.”

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Housing and Planning Policy at the House Builders Association (HBA), said:

“We’re not building enough homes in Yorkshire and the Humber and some areas are in danger of facing Government control by the end of 2019. A warning has been given and we must act now to make sure all development opportunities, from the smallest to the largest, are being enabled.”

ICE President visits Yorkshire

The Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) President, Andrew Wyllie CBE, on a visit to the recently opened Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research (ICAIR) Centre in Sheffield, where he met with sixth formers, graduates and students taking part in a #transport#infrastructure breakfast.

He said,

“It is great to engage with young people, as they are the future of the industry, and to do so in a state-of-the-art facility is fantastic. It is often easy to forget that civil engineering is essential to day-to-day life. Watching these young people experiment with something as vital to modern society as sewerage or drinking water, and to understand the role civil engineering plays in that is wonderful. They were truly engaged and inspired.”

Wyllie also joined Harry Gration MBE, of BBC Look North, to take part in a future of transport panel event at the University of Sheffield, where they presented their ideas on the city could thrive as a #NorthernPowerhouse.

You can watch more here.

NFB Awards 2019 open for entry

The awards event will take place on Thursday 4 April 2019, at the prestigious and award-winning Belfry Hotel and Resort located in the Midlands.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has launched its eighth annual awards to celebrate the high quality work and commitment delivered by members to improve the built environment.

The awards reflect the dynamic nature of the construction industry and provide a unique opportunity for NFB members to showcase and be recognised for their work. Commenting on the awards, NFB chief executive Richard Beresford said:

“We are delighted to offer NFB members the chance to be recognised for the contributions they make to the UK construction industry. We are thrilled to again celebrate experience, enthusiasm, creativity, and skill across the industry as we pay homage to both individuals and teams who work seamlessly together. In past years entrants have shown us that, despite well-publicised obstacles relating to planning, procurement, skills shortages, and late payment, the delivery of excellence can still be achieved without compromise.”

This year, two award categories are open to the industry so entry is not restricted to NFB members; the Inspirational Individual Award and Training Programme of the Year Award. In addition, a Construction Employer of the Year category allows employees can nominate the company that they work for.

Entries will be accepted for projects completed between January 2017 and December 2018.

All categories are £30 + VAT to enter with the exception of Construction Employer of the Year which is free to enter. All categories are free to enter for A – C band members of the NFB. Entry closes at midnight on Friday 15 February 2019, and finalists will be announced week commencing 4 March 2019. Application packs and further information can be found here.

For further information please contact the NFB on 03450 578 160 or email.

A more skilled society needs employers who train

The Social Mobility Commission has released a report on the adult skills gap in the United Kingdom.

The report, entitled ‘The adult skills gap: is falling investment in UK adults stalling social mobility?’, highlights how the poorest adults with the lowest qualifications are the least likely to access adult training.

Key findings identified that:

  • more women are completing training than men;
  • more people from Black and Black British ethnic backgrounds are completing training than from white backgrounds;
  • more young people are completing training than older people.

Those who do complete training are more likely to come from professional or managerial backgrounds, with men in manual occupations least likely to have done training regardless of age.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) had some of the lowest wage returns to education, whereas Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualifications had the highest, especially those in construction and engineering. Employers and government training schemes made up the largest proportion of manual training.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes the research, as it brings awareness on the need for more funding in adult education and an increased focus on those industries that are performing better than average.

In construction, additional training is typically enabled by career experience. This is particularly prevalent amongst SMEs because apprentices may begin in one field, such as bricklaying, and throughout their career have an opportunity to retrain, for example, as a site manager. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:

“Training is a great indicator of social mobility and the report highlights that more must be done to help adults develop their careers. In construction, staff retention is vital and most companies encourage training. However, with 66% of apprentices being trained by SMEs but only 27% of homes built by them, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep investing in new and existing staff. If we want more social mobility, we must enable the companies who train to win work.”