W M Donald and Stewart Milne Homes have created the innovative ‘Green Vest’ scheme to encourage young people to consider construction as a career choice
Attracting young people into construction is a major challenge for the industry. The average age of the workforce is steadily increasing and the pool of skilled workers is shrinking as people retire.
Fraser Morrison, Ian Gray and Eilidh Cameron looked at ways of enriching young apprentices’ experience on site, making the training process more effective, and increasing their engagement with the construction process. One idea that has now been implemented is the innovative ‘Green Vest’ scheme.
Fraser Morrison, HSEQ Advisor, was tasked with its development and implementation: “All site workers need to be able to use rollers and dumpers. To gain a CPCS card for these skills requires experience, training and competence. It’s a bit chicken and egg!
“The Green Vest idea is to enable apprentices over the age of 18 to gain experience of using rollers and dumpers in specific areas on sites where risks are strictly controlled. Anybody apprentice driving a roller or dumper can be quickly identified by the green vest they are wearing. Close supervision is a core element of the scheme.
“The scheme took several months to get off the ground. I spoke to senior managers from major clients and presented the scheme outline to them. They were all keen to pursue the idea and came up with ways in which it could be refined and improved.
“We currently have six apprentices in the scheme working on six different sites. We believe the scheme will enable them to make better use of training courses and to qualify for their CPCS card within a year.”
A spin-off from the scheme is that skilled workers are spending less time driving rollers and dumpers and, consequently, are able to focus on those areas where they can contribute most effectively.