Independent housebuilder Dandara, which has divisions around the UK, has launched an innovative new trainee scheme that aims to equip newcomers to the housebuilding industry with the skills and qualifications they need for the future.
With concerns widely reported that the skills shortage throughout the housebuilding industry will hamper the UK Government’s plans to build 300,000 new homes each year, as there simply aren’t enough trained professionals available to deliver the target.1 Meanwhile, the number of construction vacancies has increased by 213%, with many companies struggling to find the staff they need.2
In response, Dandara has launched a new trainee scheme that offers job-hunters the chance to train in roles ranging from site management, quantity surveying, planning and civil engineering, through to land buying, sales and marketing. The trainee programme runs over a two-year to three-year period, depending on the qualification, and enables trainees to learn on the job as well as study for a wide range of professional qualifications via day release, block release and evening and weekend courses.
The scheme, which has just launched with the recruitment of trainees in the commercial and marketing departments at Dandara South East, was developed by Tanya Stanford, Head of Rewards. She says: “I am extremely proud and excited about this newly developed scheme. As it’s still so new it is a great opportunity to make it into something special and we have some of the best divisional leads and mentors at Dandara to help along the way.”
With the average student debt now running at more than £40,0003, the scheme also offers staff a way to fast track into a thriving industry without being burdened by debt – as long as they stay with Dandara for two years after finishing the traineeship, all their tuition and qualifications will be free of charge and they will also earn a wage all the while they are studying and learning on the job.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to start a career in housebuilding without being in debt for decades,” says Tanya. “It’s an opportunity to learn while you earn, with a decent starting salary and all the benefits of working for a fast-growing business with lots of opportunity for career progression.”
The scheme includes a wide range of different level training opportunities covering every aspect of the business to make the programme as accessible as possible. For instance, school leavers interested in joining the commercial department could start their new career by studying for a BTEC Level 3 in Construction Management, embark on a degree level apprenticeship or even head straight for a BSc (Hons) in quantity surveying. “We are providing an entry-level scheme into a career in housebuilding,” says Tanya. “We want to encourage those who don’t currently have a lot of experience or who are studying and help them progress more quickly. The scheme provides progressive mentoring and on the job training. It is the perfect way to get your foot in the door and build a career.
“With the desperate need across the country for new homes, the industry is thriving, and Dandara is experiencing incredible growth as we rise to the challenge. As well as continuing with our national recruitment drive to seek out highly qualified individuals to bring their skill to our teams across the UK, our new training programme will help us to identify and nurture budding talent among young people and career changers, and offer an exciting new way in to the industry.”
The training scheme is also intended as a way of avoiding the silo mentality that can so often limit the growth and success of businesses4, helping to ensure that Dandara continues its dynamic growth. Each recruit will spend a fortnight in every department in turn, from learning about road design in the technical department right through to getting to grips with budgets and ledgers by shadowing the finance manager, making sure that they understand and appreciate every facet of the business.
“Getting it right as a company means that every stage of the housebuilding process and the customer journey need to be right as well, from buying the best land to creating the perfect atmosphere in our show homes and making sure that our sites are safe places to work,” says Tanya. “We want to train our new recruits to understand every aspect of the process from start to finish, and feel part the growing Dandara team.”