Following on from the great turnout last year, the 2022 AGM was also a huge success with over 20 companies collecting their training grants – one of many benefits for NCBF members who invest in training for their staff.
Opening with the usual review of activities for the year, president Tony Kay said he was very satisfied with the progress that NCBF is continuing to make on its key objectives.
Reviewing the five key NCBF objectives, Tony updated the meeting as follows:
Sustaining membership: There is now a focus on quality rather than quantity of members and Tony was pleased to report that we now have a high quality of member companies and wants to see that trend continuing.
Encouraging through financial support, new entrants to the industry: NCBF is now looking at an initiative involving careers advice, training and apprenticeships working with local colleges.
Added to this, NCBF has a successful apprentice bursary award scheme, sponsors the G4C awards each year (this year was the fourth year running) and provides special endeavour awards to local colleges, such as the Jeff Cutting award at Teesside University.
Increase the profile of NCBF and improve communication to both members and the regional construction sector: This work continues through marketing and PR company, Clothier Lacey & Co (CLC). The team is tasked with visiting a member company each month or three every two months to publicise any new contract wins, innovative ways of delivering training, apprenticeship news and key new appointments. CLC also provides social media, website and general PR/admin support to NCBF.
Over the last year, CLC had visited nine member companies, undertaken photography and developed stories to publicise members’ work to the local market. MJ Phoenix, Seymour CPM and Compass will be visited within the next few months.
On the social media front, although not a specific requirement to expand follower numbers, LinkedIn followers continue to increase with 132 new followers gained over the year with an average LinkedIn engagement rate of 4%, which rose to 15.38% for one post (an average of 2% is the norm), so social media is continuing to attract and engage followers.
The latest NCBF newsletter was also handed out to members and an online version is available here: NCBF Newsletter Edition 02
Strengthen and establish closer links with other support organisations, assisting them to be successful and add to the relevance of the work of NCBF: NCBF continues to support CENE, G4C, and through CIC, One Voice – new website coming soon.
Working with other organisations – colleges: As Senior Vice President of NCBF, Angela Carney then spoke about NCBF’s work with colleges and how she had recently visited Bishop Auckland College and TyneMet College. Sixty students had been split into three groups to identify health and safety issues, working with people from industry who brought real life health and safety situations to the students and to raise awareness of the importance of health and safety in the workplace and the need to protect work colleagues. Sessions such as these need volunteers and she is keen to hear from anyone who is willing to help.
Angela also spoke about the 14 colleges that NCBF is working with in the region, highlighting Hartlepool College of Further Education where engagement with employers is very good and we need to encourage better engagement with construction companies and these colleges moving forward.
The Lighthouse Club is another organisation NCBF works with. Established in 1956, the organisation was set up to assist those working in the construction industry with a wide range of advice and support and provides invaluable assistance to those who are in need.
Working with NAWIC (National Association for Women in Construction) Angela continues to take very opportunity to ensure that teenagers do not regard a career in construction as a last resort – the kind of job you get if you do not have any ambition or good results – but instead, it should be the first choice because it offers so many opportunities at every entry level.
Angela has also taken tradeswomen in construction into college to demonstrate their skill and this helps to improve respect for the industry.
She has also started an initiative at Hartlepool College for all the women studying in various roles to become the Future Women Leaders of the North East.
Constructing Excellence North East (CENE) is another key NCBF partner. Chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, spoke about the work that CENE has been doing over the last year, thanking NCBF for its continuing support.
She talked about the work the young members of G4C are doing – holding careers days, careers fairs, mentoring and so on, seeing them as tremendous advocates for the regional construction industry.
CENE has assisted the development of the One Voice campaign through loaning Kate Lloyd extensively to work on the campaign. Through One Voice there is now a digital construction group which is developing well, and the second event was held just recently. Partnerships with the Lighthouse Club and the North East England Climate Coalition (NEECco) were also a success.
CENE is heavily involved across the sector in various initiatives including weekly CPD webinars, site visits, the annual summit which is taking place in November again this year and of course the CENE and G4C awards which are a huge success story in themselves.
On the innovation side, with funding from COP 26, CENE put on a roadshow with the opportunity for young SMEs to showcase net zero ideas and businesses.
The NCBF is proud of its close working relationship with CENE and reminded all members that one of the benefits of being part of the NCBF is automatic membership of CENE.
Use CAN as a campaigning vehicle for NCBF: Ken Parkin, Chair of CAN, updated the meeting on CAN’s activities over the last year, which included continuing to ensure there is a level playing field for regional SME contractors when bidding for work. CAN’s relationship with NEPO continues and CAN has recently linked up with Northern Housing Consortium and hopes to make some inroads there to represent the interests of SME contractors.
Some of CAN’s other business aims are to ensure fair payment for SMEs so that they are not held hostage by larger firms in the supply chain; supporting the trades on site with training and apprenticeship support/advice; and lobbying central government for change.
In this respect CAN had been able to visit Westminster and lobby government for action directly about the harm that an impending increase on red diesel would have on the construction industry, encouraging a deferment on the red diesel rebate for another year to reduce the impact on the sector.
Matthew McCarrick of McCarrick Construction, who sits on both the CAN committee and NCBF also spoke to government at an Education Select Committee about the 4-16 agenda and the need for careers advice to begin at age 10, not 16.
CAN also held a very well attended Materials Summit event which was attended by almost 70 people and was jointly hosted and organised by the Federation of Master Builders and National Federation of Builders.
Ken also reported that CAN was invited to attend a small event hosted by Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP as a celebration of the Darlington Economic Campus and coming up is an event organised by North East Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC) at Teesside University where CAN will take a stand and provide materials.
Summing up and commenting on the impact of CAN, Ken Parkin said: “I am delighted to report that CAN’s views and aims are now at last getting on the national agenda.”
The Apprentice Bursary Awards: Finally, the deadline for entries to apply for an Apprentice Bursary Award is 19th July and this year the award is for £10k over three years for two winning companies, so those present were urged to enter. Members can find out more information about the bursary scheme by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org
Election of officers: Tony Kay will remain President, Angela Carney is Senior Vice President and was awarded a chain of office on the day and Matthew McCarrick was nominated and approved with tremendous support, as Junior Vice President
Trustees for the coming year remain the same – Neil Ramsey (Secretary), Jeff Alexander (ex Surgo) and Jack Redfern (Redfern Building Services).
Annual subscriptions were noted as increasing to £125 from £100 still representing exceptional value for money, for more information about membership click here.