“CITB funding enabled us to tap into new markets”
Rachel Greenley is co-director of Harriet Lee Building & Renovation Ltd, an award-winning SME based in North Wales. The business specialises in projects encompassing multiple trades such as restorations, renovations, and complete new builds. Here Rachel explains why businesses shouldn’t be reluctant to invest in training.
I'm a chartered physiotherapist by trade but when the business my husband started grew, I decided to leave my job and venture into the world of construction. I knew nothing about it but we’ve been building the business together for 13 years and here I am!
In 2015 we became a member of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), that’s when we heard about CITB funding.
I think it’s important to keep the workforce trained, particularly if you want to branch out from the small contract domestic market to more commercial contracts, or bid for tenders for local housing authorities or councils.
We were thrilled to be awarded funding from CITB’s Skills and Training fund two years running. The funding allowed us to practice what we preach, as one of our core values is having a trained workforce.
CITB funding helped in numerous ways. We put employees through training for a range of roles including: site-based supervision; asbestos awareness; working at heights; respiratory mask fitting and dust protection. Plant machinery CPCS tickets helped us to provide more diverse training.
CITB funding enabled us to look for more work and tap into new markets. For instance we can work with commercial clients like Bangor University on improvements and maintenance projects. Clients like these want to work with employers who are up-to-speed with the latest onsite training and knowledge. It’s essential to ensure your workers are informed with the latest thinking and best practice.
During my medical career, I had to complete 40 hours of Continuing Professional Development training every year. In construction - through CITB, government and apprenticeship schemes - the opportunities to get valuable training are phenomenal. I can’t see why companies aren’t accessing money that’s available to them.
Businesses shouldn’t be reluctant to invest in training. We retain staff because we invest in them and this creates company loyalty. We’re prepared to have a conversation and ask ‘What can we do to help you progress?’ If staff move on, it’s good for industry that there are better qualified people working in construction.
I am now really excited to be doing the CITB Ambassador training, as it means we can go into local schools and get kids interested. It’s important to show them what working in construction is like and the wide range of opportunities waiting for them.
We have recently been awarded ‘Best New Home’ in the FMB Cymru awards. We will go to the national finals in September for the chance to win the UK title. We are so proud of this achievement and everything that we have accomplished over the years.
My advice to SMEs looking to grow would be to use us an example of what good training practices and investment in your staff can do to help you achieve more in construction.
More information can be found on the CITB's Skills and Training fund page.
You can find out more about becoming a CITB Ambassador on the Go Construct website.