April 25, 2024

Excellence in People Development: an Award we Sponsor, an Ethos we Live

Any marketing specialist will tell you that the causes you choose to sponsor must be in harmony with your company’s values, and resonate closely with its commitments and behaviours.  

So for us, sponsoring the Inspiring Herts Excellence in People DevelopmentAwards 2024 was very much a strategic choice.

An awards programme run in the county our business calls home, an award category that stands for what we live and breathe every day, and a theme that is a red-hot topic in the construction industry, as it struggles mightily to attract, retain, and grow talent.

So here, in just a few examples, is why what we do – and how we do it – makes us a proud sponsor, as well as a proud employer.


Earn while you learn: the best of both worlds

Firstly, we were quick to understand that training without decent pay is as pointless as employment without decent prospects, so we resolved to address both at once. 

By enabling capable young people with an interest in engineering and the environment to work, gain professional experience, and earn a salary, whilst also studying full-time for a university engineering degree, we’ve taken both the financial and job-hunting pressures out of the education equation, and removed a significant barrier to people development.

We currently have four such engineering apprentices working with us, and we plan to take on several more –in fact, our headcount growth strategy is based largely around this activity.

We’re particularly proud that these apprentices are often school-leavers from our local area, and that our constant and repeated engagement with local schools has shown there is an alternative for pupils whose don’t want a conventional university education, or who desire practical engagement as well as course-learning.


Outgrowing the stereotypes

At GBD, we know that gender stereotypes – along with other social factors - can lead many girls and women to not consider engineering as a subject at school, college or university.

In fact, the statistics show that the UK has a particularly low number of women in engineering roles compared to other European countries.

Through our approach to excellence in people development, we are determined to help reverse this trend, not only by helping women acquire engineering qualifications and professional skills, but by opening up engineering to women who might never previously have thought themselves interested in the discipline.

So it is, for example, that the first female apprentice we took on and whose education we funded now holds a First Class Honours BEng Degree inBuilding Services, and fills a critical role within the company’s operations asa Building Services Engineer.

But it also explains why one of our other engineering apprentices is a woman who originally joined the business as temporary admin cover. We recognised her natural interest in the subject, encouraged it, cultivated it, and now, through the paid apprenticeship, she is studying for her university Engineering degree.

At GBD, we believe that people from all walks of life and backgrounds are capable of growth if they are considerately and sensitively developed.


People development – a career-long commitment

But people development, at GBD, isn’t just the preserve of those in the early stages of their career. Whilst we’re proud to foster youthful talent, we’re equally proud of the fact that our people development strategy is, like the economy we champion, circular.

This means that we not only sponsor the apprenticeships of younger employees, we also keep on board a number of semi-retired engineers on apart-time basis to mentor the apprentices and share with them their immense knowledge and experience.

Furthering our youngsters on the one hand, continuing to venerate the skills of our veterans on the other: for us, developing people is not just about making them useful for the business, but making them helpful and supportive to each other.


When will the winners be announced?

But whilst not every company out there can be a sustainable construction engineering consultancy trampling down the people development barriers, we know that other businesses, within and outside our sector, are realising the importance of nurturing their workforce in a competitive labour market – and taking innovative steps to do so.

And as sponsors of the Excellence in People Development Award at the Inspiring Herts Awards 2024, we’re delighted to have a ringside seat to watch the competition between the contenders unfold.

The winners will be announced at the Awards gala dinner on Thursday, 27th June. We’ll be there, of course, so if you’d like to meet with us at the event to chat and find out more about what we do,  contact us or give us a call on 01992 552111.

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