Many of us are familiar with the business development mantra that assigns top priority to developing robust professional networks and close working relationships that deliver mutual benefits for all concerned.
The Dumfries & Galloway Construction Training Group (CTG), managed by Ian Wells, is a solid example of one such proactive construction professional development and networking group in action. Through our longstanding relationship with this special interest group, it has been our pleasure to work with Manager Davie Nish and his team of more than 20 roofers and supervisor roofers based at Lee Glover Roofing Contractors Limited in Dumfries.
Established in the late 1990s, Lee Glover Roofing has forged a solid reputation for high quality workmanship and stringent budget control for a wide range of commercial and pubic sector clients across Dumfries & Galloway. Their skilled teams install and refurbish roof coverings in natural slate, roof tiling, flat roofs and metal profile roof coverings for commercial properties, housing associations, schools, libraries and civic buildings across the region.
With ever more complex and larger projects coming on stream, Davie Nish and company owner Lee Glover approached Esteem Training to run our SVQ Level 3 programme in occupational work supervision (OWS) in-house at their Dumfries headquarters.
Esteem Training assessor, David Currie begins: “In pre-pandemic times, we would have held in-person workshops at a conveniently-located Dumfries business centre with up to 20 candidates taking part however social distancing measures have rendered that approach impossible. We therefore worked with Davie to create a programme whereby my colleague Karen MacArthur, our candidate support coordinator and I would travel to Dumfries to work with Davie’s teams of more than 20 roofers split into groups of four. Each group was assigned dedicated days to work solely with us on a number of rolling half-day sessions spaced out over several weeks. Candidates sat two metres apart, at benches in the main workshop, with the workshop’s roller shutters held aloft for maximum ventilation and with all hygiene protocols strictly observed.”
Trust and partnership remain paramount
Manager Davie Nish picks up the story: “We regularly bring sub-contractors from other trades on to our projects and so trust, partnership and a similar work ethic remain of paramount importance for our business as this can impact our company reputation. We chose to work with the Esteem Training team following a recommendation from one of our respected professional contacts.
“There’s always a little apprehension when bringing a new group in to a closely-knit team such as ours however I was impressed with Esteem’s professionalism, organisational approach and subject knowledge. David and Karen, in particular, worked closely with each member of our team to identify how each person could best absorb course content and how to help them succeed. We all learn differently and have varying levels of practical expertise.
“Some of our team have more than 20 years’ experience and have, in every practical sense, been running their own sites and multi-disciplinary team for many years whereas we have equally focused younger roofers with lots of potential but less hands-on experience. With such a diverse group of candidates, it was great that the Esteem team quickly picked up when someone needed a little extra support such as help with written tasks for someone with dyslexia who might be strong on verbal tasks but might perhaps struggle with written aspects of the course.”
David Currie picks up the thread: “Lee Glover Roofing work on some pretty complex projects, involving multi-disciplinary teams combining their roofing specialists working alongside sub-contractors such as painters, bricklayers and builders. In the past, any problems on site tended to be referred back to Davie Nish whereas Lee Glover, the company’s owner and Davie knew that many of their team, especially the more experienced roofers, were more than capable of managing their sites without having to check back to home base.”
Mastering the managerial aspects of the job
Davie Nish agrees: “Part of our rationale for working with Esteem Training was to expand our team’s understanding of the managerial aspects of the job – why we do certain things ahead of time and while working on site, and why it’s important that those disciplines are consistently followed and respected. Having secured this qualification, our teams have acquired considerable insight into the level of advance planning and logistics work which Lee and I are involved in, prior to a single tool being picked up on site. And having our roofing supervisors confident and empowered to run their own sites has alleviated pressure on me as I’m no longer involved in day-to-day troubleshooting.
“We’re very fortunate that our lads are so open to acquiring new tools and techniques, and they’ve been universally positive about their experiences working with David and Karen. Committing to work with Esteem Training was a big step for us as we wanted to practically demonstrate our faith in the team through investing in this funded SVQ Level 3 OWS qualification which paves the way for them to secure their CSCS Supervisory Gold cards.
“Esteem Training quickly assumed the role of active partner which I hadn’t expected but proved a welcome bonus. They swiftly developed trust and strong, responsive communications with our guys who each have quite different levels of ability, learning styles and support needs. It was evident, from the outset, that they shared our goal of securing first the SVQ then Gold cards. They went above and beyond the call of duty to help us achieve that, and I’m delighted to say that David has now ‘signed off’ the last of the groups.
“We’re really pleased that this learning experience has proven so rewarding all round, noticeably boosting our team’s confidence. Though I’m still heavily involved in guiding day-to-day operations, Lee and I can now concentrate more fully on developing the business.”