Young lives transformed with help of Saint-Gobain


Young lives transformed by award-winning Barnardo’s YouthBuild Academy supported by Saint-Gobain

Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland are carving a bright future for young people through the Barnardo’s YouthBuild Academy.

The Academy in Lewisham, London, has seen 57 care leavers graduate from the training programme since its launch in 2018, with many developing life and construction skills.

The 16-week programme features technical training in dry lining and essential life skills to boost their future careers, allowing them to achieve independence and employment.

On average, 40% of care leavers in England aged 19-21 are not in education, employment or training, compared to 13% of their peers. Yet at the same time, the construction industry is facing a skills shortage, with 157,000 new recruits needed by 2021 in order to keep up with the demands.

More than half of the young people at the Academy, which was recognised at the Business Charity Awards 2019, have since secured direct employment as a result of their training.

Richard Batley, HR and CSR Director, Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to support the Barnardo’s YouthBuild Academy to help care leavers gain skills and employment within the construction industry. The Academy plays an important part in addressing the skills shortage in construction.

“Our commitment to supporting care leavers into the construction industry is reflected in our new purpose; making the world a better home – providing the necessary skills for the next generation of construction professionals to innovate and build better living spaces.”

Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland has raised £1million for Barnardo’s over the last decade, also collaborating with Barnardo’s Scotland to build transitionary accommodation for young people leaving the care system. The homes were constructed in Renfrewshire, Scotland, using Saint-Gobain materials and a holistic approach to design to ensure the homes are energy efficient and comfortable.

These self-contained homes, known as ‘Gap Homes’, will be available to care leavers for a period of up to two years, where they will receive support for independent living skills such as cooking and budgeting while building their confidence, resilience and support network.

Saint-Gobain will continue to support Barnardo’s in 2021, as part of its purpose to ‘make the world a better home’. 

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