Events & News News Chamber News Housing Company signs up to Industry Pledge Lincolnshire-based housebuilder Larkfleet Homes [www.larkfleethomes.co.uk] has pledged to work with its subcontractors to recruit and train more people to the highest standards. It will help to tackle ‘head on’ the pressing building industry skills gap in the East Midlands and East of England. Larkfleet Homes has signed up to the Home Building Skills Pledge. This set of five key actions has been developed by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) [www.hbf.co.uk] through its Home Building Skills Partnership to solve a nationwide skills shortage. It also recognises the importance of ‘future-proofing’ workforce skills by developing new ways for people to enter the building industry as well as developing existing talent with the industry. The Skills Pledge [http://www.hbf.co.uk/policy-activities/home-building-skills-partnership/skillspledge/] covers five key areas: Collaborate and share; Train to a standard; Engage and support; Champion diversity and inclusion; and Promote careers. By signing up to the Pledge, companies will also be supporting the HBF’s Home Building Skills Partnership and working to its shared goals. Karl Hick, Larkfleet Homes CEO, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Home Building Skills Pledge and being part of the growing momentum for really tackling this crucial agenda. It is vital to nurture the future of the construction industry if we are to build the homes that the country needs. “By signing up to the pledge we are committing Larkfleet Homes to recruit the best possible talent and to train people to the highest standards. By being proactive in terms of engaging staff, and by being inclusive and diverse in our recruitment, we will be able to future-proof our workforce to continue to deliver high quality new homes.” Larkfleet is already a major investor in training and skills development. It is one of the sponsors of the newly-opened Greater Peterborough University Technical College which aims to give young people ‘hands on’ as well as theoretical training for careers in the engineering and construction sectors. The Home Building Skills Partnership is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) [www.citb.co.uk] and was set up 18 months ago to tackle the industry’s skills shortage. It is already attracting and training the people the industry needs to deliver more, high quality homes in the future. In the past three months alone site managers and trainee site managers have been put through over 200 training courses with another 550 planned for the next three months. Around 50 young people are currently being fast tracked into trade roles including bricklaying, dry lining and joinery. Speaking at the Home Building Skills Pledge’s official launch at the HBF’s annual Housing Market Intelligence event in London John Tutte, group chief executive of Redrow Plc and chair of the Home Building Skills Partnership, said: “If we are to develop the capacity and build the high-quality homes the country desperately needs, we as an industry must commit to recruiting and training the right people – now and in future. The skills gap, whilst acknowledged by the sector, requires a collective and committed response if we are to tackle it sustainably in the long term. The challenges posed by Brexit with regards to skills only make the need for effective collaboration more acute.” Jenny Herdman, director of the Home Building Skills Partnership, added: “It is extremely encouraging to see momentum building for collectively solving the housing skills crisis. We face a huge challenge but also have a unique opportunity to make a difference, and be part of a combined demonstration that a career in house building provides huge opportunities and prospects.” Alok Sharma MP, Minister for Housing, said: “This government is committed to building many more homes in the places people want to live across the country. To do that we need an industry that has the right skills to build, including new and innovative methods. “The Home Building Skills pledge shows the industry working collaboratively to ensure they’ve got a sustainable supply chain, and I look forward to seeing it result in even more skilled workers on the ground ready to build the homes this country needs.” Photo caption: Karl Hick, CEO of Larkfleet Homes, has signed the Skills Pledge on behalf of the company.