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Updated 20 Jul 2018

How upskilling programmes can benefit your construction business

By upskilling workers you can help your business improve productivity and safety in one well implemented strategy. 

Nicole Crampton, 10 October 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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The construction industry stands out from other industries as having the highest worker injury and fatality rates, according to this study headed by Nelson Mandela University. Consider the health and safety benefit for both your business and your workers if they already had skills training before they came to work for you. 

Higher worker injury is usually linked to lack of knowledge and experience within the construction industry. By offering or hiring from upskilling programmes you can give your new employees much needed experience, which will reduce the high injury rate and improve your business’ productivity and profitability.

“Safe work creates no obstacles to being competitive and successful. In fact, no country – and no company in the long run – has been able to jump to a high level of productivity without making sure that the work environment is safe,” says International Labour Organisation.

Related: Construction is experiencing a technological revolution: Be a part of it


57% of employees would like additional skills training to progress further in their current company, according to the Global Work Index. In an industry that experiences high turnover, loyalty is worth investing in.

Here are a few benefits to your construction company for implementing an upskilling programme: 

1. Hire ‘experienced’ entry-level workers

Typically, your entry level workers would be unskilled with no experience, this is why the accident and fatality rate is so high in the construction sector. By offering positions to students or part-time workers, when they are able to work for you full-time they already have experience and skills.’ 

Case Study: Aurecon was able to provide employment to 40 people from the 14 villages that were along the two roads being improved. “Another outcome is the identification of SMME’s in the immediate area who will work closely with the Contractors during the construction phase. The Contractors have undertaken to upskill the SMMEs where possible,” says Nick Mannie - Unit Manager - Environment and Planning. 

As an SMME, you can reach out to local programmes to grow your business and experience. You can also benefit by hiring from the workers in the area who already have experience from the last project. 

2. Programmes you can already pick from 

Hiring -staff

Working with Wood in association with the Association of Woodturners South Africa (AWSA), host events every year to uplift the surrounding communities through woodwork. To attempt to reawaken interest in woodwork, the American Association of Woodturners’ (AAW) board, on invitation of AWSA, launched two of their outreach initiatives, Turners without Borders (TWB) and Women in Turning (WIT).

In support of these initiatives wood turners have agreed to provide mentoring to community member while they acquire woodturning skills. Hiring people out of this programme can improve what your construction company can offer, while also hiring someone that is already experienced and don’t require training. 

3. Why not start an in-house training programme?

By offering apprenticeships and traineeships you can expose your construction business to new skills sets that you actually need. Your team will train the new workers so you know that the quality of the work matches your business, while reducing your need for subcontractors. 

Case Study: “Clients are increasingly looking for contractors that can provide a full turnkey solution. For us to match this demand, we’ve had to widen the pool of people in our business,” says Karen Morley, director of HR at Styles & Wood, a UK based construction business. “By offering the training ourselves because we’ve created a channel to share knowledge between different divisions to train almost on demand.” 

Developing an in-house training programme not only upskills the employees who attend the training but everyone within your business they share their new knowledge with. Upskilling your employees from within also allows you to focus on skills that need improvement and areas you want to grow your business in.


  • Hire workers from upskilling programmes to improve your construction business’ productivity and competitiveness.
  • Offer workers training in-house to ensure quality and to upskill your entire company when workers share knowledge. 
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About the author

Nicole Crampton

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