insideKENT Magazine Issue 49 - April 2016 - Page 150

PROPERTY PENTLAND HOMES TAKES THE LEAD IN ENCOURAGING YOUNG PEOPLE INTO THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Since its roots in the 1960s, Pentland Homes’ reputation has steadily grown to become Kent’s premier housebuilder, as a result of their clear focus on quality. The company is known for its high specification homes, with every detail carefully planned. In the last few years, the company has experienced unprecedented growth, reaching close to 100 completions in 2015-2016, in addition to the awardwinning extra-care home of 67 self-contained suites and communal facilities in Ashford. But this level of growth requires a great deal of labour, and with a reputation built on quality, finding skilled craftsmen in an industry suffering a welldocumented labour shortage is no mean feat. For National Apprenticeship Week in March, Pentland Homes teamed up with construction courses at Ashford and West Kent College. Students were invited to their popular Scholars Village development for a typical operative induction, a tour of the site and a Q&A with site managers and sub-contractors. For International Women’s Day, the company were keen to lend their support for the Construction Youth Trust’s campaign #notjustforboys. The campaign’s manifesto argues that women are key to solving the According to the CITB, many employers are reporting difficulty recruiting skilled labour, from general operatives to traditional trades, right up to technical, professional and managerial levels. The industry is also experiencing the impact of an aging workforce, with few people under 30 coming into the industry to replace those reaching retirement age. industry’s recruitment crisis, and calls for employee action and government funding for women on appropriate training and courses. At Pentland Homes, women can be found in all areas of the business – both on site and in the boardroom – and their Sales and Marketing Director, Julia Price, believes this is key to their success. When Pentland Homes contacted their sub-contractors for their views on apprenticeship schemes, their responses offered valuable insight on why many companies find it difficult to provide opportunities for training. They cited issues such as young people not being able to afford their own transport, and colleges not offering specialist courses due to the high costs of materials and waste. “Our discerning purchasers are both men and women, so it makes sense for women to be part of the process of designing and building homes. It’s the details that makes a house into a home, and it’s vital we have people on board who have an eye for those details. Helping young people get in to the industry is a shared goal for all concerned, but Pentland Homes also believes there is a more specific untapped resource. For Pentland, who employ over two-and-a-half times more women than the industry average, encouraging more young women and girls into construction is an issue close to their hearts. “Encouraging more young people into the construction industry and ensuring they are work-ready will not be solved overnight, but if housebuilders are going to meet the demand of an increasing population, we all have a role to play.” For more information on Pentland Homes, visit www.pentlandhomes.co.uk. 150