Award for London Highways Academy of Excellence

The London Highways Academy of Excellence has won the Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s (CECA) Inspiring Change in the Community Award 2016.

Held in London, the annual CECA Inspiring Change Awards recognise organisations that promote inclusion and diversity in the infrastructure and construction industries.

Originally established by FM Conway and now supported and funded by the Worshipful Company of Paviors, the London Highways Academy of Excellence provides vital skills training for job-seekers looking to begin a career in the construction industry.

The Academy attracts candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds, who are given structured support to overcome the barriers that would otherwise prevent them from pursuing a career in construction and highways. This has led to a high rate of completions, which have subsequently been converted into apprenticeships and full-time appointments; helping to meet the industry’s future skills requirements and tackling the skills shortage.

A unique aspect of the Academy’s offering is a fully-funded course designed to give inexperienced, young job-seekers – often from disadvantaged backgrounds – the skills to secure jobs that were previously out of their reach. Called the London Pass, the course provides guidance on key areas ranging from timekeeping and personal appearance through to health and safety, customer care and sustainability.

The Academy also supports the ongoing training of existing construction industry employees. Since its inception, both contractors and local authorities have used the Academy not just to recruit apprentices, but also deliver cross-company training.  Standalone courses are provided on a range of subjects, which are all designed to help people develop the skills they need to work on London’s major infrastructure projects.

Sharon Field, head of corporate social responsibility at FM Conway, commented: “It is fantastic that CECA has recognised the Academy’s vital work. The construction industry is currently facing a severe skills shortage. It is crucial that both private and public organisations do what they can to support not just the ongoing training of employees, but encourage a pipeline of diverse, young adults into the sector.”

CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “These awards show the steps our industry is taking to further fairness, inclusion and respect in workplaces, schools and the wider society. I would like to congratulate all of the winners, who were drawn from a field of entrants of exceptionally high quality.”

Shae Henriques, a graduate of the Academy who is now employed as a term maintenance apprentice at FM Conway, was also highly commended in the Most Promising Apprentice category at the recent CECA Southern Awards.

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