Woodsmith Construction

Helping Saltburn-based construction company access skills development and training for its new team

Operating right across the North East and Yorkshire from its base near Saltburn, Woodsmith Construction offers end-to-end delivery of construction projects, specialising in residential, commercial and public sector developments.

When the business launched in early 2021, Managing Director Gary Wood immediately recognised the need for employee skills development and training to get his new 16-strong team off to the best possible start.

Now, just over a year and a half since launch, we caught up with Gary to find out how our Skills for Growth programme helped embed this approach from the get-go.

Safety First

As the team work in a high-risk construction environment, and with some staff not having previously undertaken any formal health and safety training, this was a vital area of development to ensure a safe work place.

A wide range of training options were identified to give employees the skills needed to work safely on site, including Emergency First Aid at Work and IOSH Managing Safely courses, alongside several industrial qualifications, covering topics like fire safety, working at heights and in confined spaces, asbestos awareness, and more.

The Skills for Growth team connected Gary to appropriate funded support with Evolution Training and Consultancy Services, meaning that all of this training and skills development was accessed by ten employees at no cost to the business.

Supporting Business Development

As an early-stage business, Gary felt he would benefit from some additional training on how the business could operate more efficiently and effectively as it looks to grow. With the support of Skills for Growth, he was able to tap into Enterprise Made Simple’s fully funded Going for Growth course.

Gary also recognised that the business’s social media and marketing presence was in urgent need of development, with its only web presence at the time of joining the project being a holding page. Teesside University’s DigtialCity team were able to help the team gain a better understanding of website design with two days of consultancy advice through its Digital Business Support programme.

After a referral to Core Management, the business is now also trialling a project management system for its sites which Gary explains is already giving the business a competitive advantage.

He commented: “We are using the management system on four projects currently as we continue to develop the system with Core Management. The system is helping us manage projects more efficiently, helping us to increase turnover and giving us the edge on others in our sector. I am hoping to roll this out across the board by the end of the year.

Helping Employees to Grow into Management

Due to Woodsmith Construction’s rapid growth the need to upskill and develop existing employees was vital.

Having recently recruited using the apprenticeship scheme, Gary was keen to see what options were available through this route to upskill the current foreman to take on a project management role. An Associate Project Manager Apprenticeship was identified with Darlington College and Learning Curve Group, supported through the apprenticeship levy, and is currently being explored.

“A more desirable company”

With so many areas for development identified, Gary admitted: “I was very surprised by how much input was required in running a business from different areas and resources. My Skills Development Advisor helped in pointing me in the right direction on several interventions that have helped the business.”

Gary continued to explain that this support has helped to make Woodsmith Construction a more desirable company to both potential employees and clients.

He said: “The training has given our employees far greater knowledge in areas where they were previously limited, helping not only to improve confidence within the team but also strengthen our position in the construction market. Now we are a more desirable company to work for and we are also more admirable to clients.”

About Skills for Growth

The Skills for Growth programme works in partnership with Teesside University and is supported by the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.

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