With an ongoing skills shortage in the industry and fewer than one third of Generation Z considering a career in construction, Higgins Partnerships is actively working closely with social enterprises, schools and colleges to promote the wealth of employment opportunities in the industry.
Working closely with organisations such as Mind the Gap and Beam, it is also supporting and providing offenders, ex-offenders and homeless people stable employment and apprenticeship opportunities to establish and build a long-term career in the industry.
Through its work with Beam, Higgins Partnerships has been able to give one Islington resident, Jay his next step in his career goal of becoming a plumber.
He was referred to social enterprise Beam in 2019 by Islington Council after he found himself homeless and struggling to get back on his feet, following a challenging start in his life and time in prison.
Beam is a crowdfunding platform that supports homeless people into work, by removing the financial barriers they face and matching them with employers. The organisation is backed by the Mayor of London and leading UK tech entrepreneurs.
After raising over £4,000 through Beam’s crowdfunding platform, Jay completed his entry level plumbing course and gained experience in carpentry and general maintenance.
He was given an interview with Higgins and joined the team as a Traffic Marshal at Higgins’s Telfer House project in Islington. Higgins worked closely with Jay to help him secure his CSCS card and traffic marshal ticket and prepare him for the role and what to expect.
Amy Ross, Head of Social Value at Higgins Partnerships comments, “An important part of our social value strategy is to support and provide employment opportunities for those who may have served time or been homeless. Jay initially joined us as a Traffic Marshal at our Telfer House site and has shown real potential and ambition to succeed. We are delighted that through our subcontractors H&V Serviceplan Ltd, his hard work and commitment has paid off and he has been taken on as a Trainee Plumber and is able to start building his career to become a plumber.”
Jay was determined to rebuild his life and wanted to pursue a career where he could gain new skills and a renewed sense of confidence. On starting his new role he says, “This is life changing for me because this was my number one goal which I’ve finally achieved. The team I am working with are great and have given me a lot of support.”
His exceptional work ethic has also meant he is now living in a flat in Islington and finally has a stable position.
Maddy Goldrick, Senior Partnerships Associate at Beam, said: “We’re delighted to be working with forward-thinking organisations like Higgins Partnerships, who want to play their part in furthering social mobility in the UK. At Beam we’re supporting hundreds of people who are ready and willing to start work but face various barriers. By removing these barriers and matching them with suitable employers, we hope to reduce unemployment levels and tackle one of the biggest social issues of our time.”
At Telfer House, Higgins is replacing the aging 1960s low rise residential block with a brand new high quality part five storey, part six storey building with 38 mixed tenure one, two and three bedroom apartments for existing and future residents.
The much needed new homes will provide 68% social rent and 32% private sale apartments, with the private sale raising capital to help fund the project, alongside the GLA funding secured by Islington Council.
Higgins Partnerships was recently named Most Inspiring Contractor at The Inspire Awards 2021. The awards celebrate diversity and inclusion in the UK construction, engineering and housing sector.