Developing a Workforce for the Modern World

We decided early on, when adopting Modern Methods of Construction, that we would struggle to re-train existing bricklayers that had spent a lifetime with a trowel in their hand. Instead we grew our business by training new talent, those with no pre-conceived ideas set by traditional build methods.

Over the last 15 years we have worked with a range of products, refined our methods, multi-skilled our on-site teams and built a workforce we are proud of, and which will see us succeed through the skills shortage.

The facts are clear; due to the current age of our existing workforce and the rate of ‘new talent’ attraction, we are set to see a 20–25% decline in our available work force within the next decade, with something like 700,000 people retiring in the next five years, let alone any impact Brexit may have!

The sector is now reviewing our training schemes, strategies and the methods of construction we are using, whether they are inline with the requirements of today.

The build methods we use at MFS are quicker, more efficient and can produce more sustainable homes. It also takes a lot less time to train and educate labourers in how to use them compared to traditional build methods.

We are proud to be at the forefront of innovation and new technologies; we were one of the first contractors in the UK to introduce ‘thin joint’ blockwork and were instrumental in the development of the H+H Ra Build approach. More recently we are promoting the Silka Element system by Xella, a masonry wall panel system widely adopted on the continent.

Ultimately, we are attracting new talent through this innovation. We’re not recruiting for bricklayers, we’re recruiting for apprentices in Modern Methods of Construction. We don’t use trowels and there’s minimal manual handling of our large format blocks. We use new technology; mini-cranes which have a lifting capacity of 400kg at a 5m radius, with adjustable lifting clamps making them able to lift blocks of all thicknesses.

We have utilised our close working relationship with our partners on the continent, Xella, to train and develop a UK based workforce, whilst having ongoing support from their experts.

With our apprentices, we are able to provide them with first hand training and experience, as well as mentoring them through their qualifications at college, whilst developing the specialist knowledge they need, hands-on, on site.

At MFS we relish the challenge to think differently and change the way we work in the construction industry for the better.