Construction firms must invest early to reap the benefits later

An award winning entrepreneurial building consultant has urged construction businesses to invest in the growing army of young people out of work – even though it might take several years to reap the benefits of their training.

Dayle Bayliss, a former winner of Suffolk Young Businessperson of the Year and recent winner of the Deborah Meaden backed Local Business Accelerators initiative spoke out after the Government announced the launch of a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into how the industry can boost youth employment and training on the back of construction and housing investment.

She said there was “no quick fix” to improve the situation but said that many companies could prosper from the investment if they were patient.

“There is real value in training someone to have the same principles and ethos as the business they work for, which is why I continue to invest in training and development, even if that cost to my bottom line extends several years before I see the benefit,”

she added.

“It takes years of training in the professional side of construction before you become of value to your employer –in terms of being able to earn a fee for your work. And it also takes a lot of time and money from employers to invest in trainees – many of whom don’t have the spare cash to do so.”

The cross-party group, jointly chaired by Lord Richard Best and the Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP and being supported by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) launched the enquiry on 5th August and hopes to conclude its findings in January 2014.

Dayle said it was vital SME’s were involved in any discussion to ensure they felt supported when investing in trainees.

“I have done some pro-bono work recently where I was able to bring along our trainee to use the work as a training exercise but I can’t charge the client for that time, so the costs come out of my fee which is tough as an SME,”

she said.

“I’ll be extremely interested to see what actions they put in place after the inquiry but I do hope that SMEs input evidence as well as the larger construction firms to ensure a balanced view.”

Joint chair Lord Best said there were an unprecedented one million young people in England not in employment.

“We are expecting to see extra investment into new homes and infrastructure projects over the months ahead,” he said. “But how can we ensure that the UK’s £100bn construction investment will lead to new jobs and new skills for the growing army of unemployed young people in this country?

“Our Inquiry is an attempt to secure two benefits from a growth in construction: not just new homes and better infrastructure, but training and employment for these 16 to 24 year olds currently facing a bleak future.”