Training for future success

A comprehensive programme of training and people development has long underpinned the business of contractor NG Bailey — and is central to its business plans for the next few years, as MARTIN BAILEY explains.I am very proud of what we have achieved with our apprentice training programme since its inception in 1969. We have trained over 4000 apprentices since we first opened the doors and the great work we are doing in training is definitely set to continue. I have grown up with the NG Bailey business, and over the years we have implemented many changes — like most businesses of our size. However, one thing has remained constant, and that is our commitment to first-class apprentice training. Central strategy People training and development is central to our business strategy, and this is evident in our continued investment in training. We spent £3 million on training alone in 2004, and we have invested over £400 000 in developing the new mechanical training wing, which was formally opened in November. We believe that we offer the very best craft training available in the mechanical, electrical and building-services industries — combining practical craft training and college studies with valuable site experience. It’s not just technical training we provide either — our apprentices also take self-development and team-building programmes to help with their personal development. The demands of our industry are continually changing, and we are seeing more and more importance being placed on the built environment. With this, comes an increased need for more technical training to keep up with these advancements. The Bailey Engineering Academy provides this much needed training and echoes the importance of the built environment in our everyday working lives. Structured Our academy has three important features: highly qualified training staff; purpose-built training centres, which oversee 23 000 training days per year; and highly structured training programmes that provide apprentices and technical staff, with a host of different skills. We take in over 100 apprentices each year across mechanical and electrical engineering, building services and maintenance, service and maintenance, and quantity surveying. This in itself is testimony to the quality of the training we are providing. We remain committed to our apprentice-training programme and the future development of our people. Some people have been with the NG Bailey business for over 20 years and trained as apprentices when our training centre first opened. Roy McIver, Manchester branch manager, and Mark Jones, deputy training manager, are just two people who exemplify the success of our training programme. They began their lives with NG Bailey as apprentices. Personal experience I also have my own personal experience of being an apprentice, after training here part-time during my degree course. Many more senior people within our business also started out as apprentices and have remained with us to continue their careers. Craft apprentices at NG Bailey regularly outperform the national average in the number of examination passes and industry qualifications gained each year. Our success rate is 90%, compared to the industry average of around 50%. We consistently win major, industry-sponsored awards, such as taking gold, silver and bronze in the Electrical Contractors’ Association annual awards. The extent of our training is visible throughout the whole NG Bailey business. At our management training centre at Denton Hall, we run programmes from supervision to board level. The success of our leadership and management training centre at Denton has led us to open up our facilities to local school teachers and secondary-school children — with local head teachers sitting in on some of our management-development programmes. Giving teachers an invaluable insight into how a construction business work, is an experience they can take back into the classroom. On-going process Training is an on-going process of development, which means that we place importance on it — at all levels. This has enabled us to develop an outstanding knowledge of the education sector, which we are using to aid our work in education and to advise on what the schools of the future will look like. Through our work in education, we have been able to achieve Beacon status from the Learning & Skills Council, which is recognition of our outstanding teaching and learning facilities and our well managed education programme. NG Bailey is the first organisation outside the college sector to hold both Beacon and Centre of Vocational Excellence status. We adopt a forward-looking culture, which means that our technical training programme will continue to develop as we see the industry progressing. We need to evolve in line with the industry, offering new entrants the opportunity to acquire the technical training necessary to fulfil their professional and personal dreams. People are fundamental to our business — they are our most important asset. This philosophy guides our investment in training and will continue to do so well into the future. We have significant plans for the NG Bailey business over the next few years, and the development of our people is central to these plans.
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