Construction firms join forces on supplier training

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
15 February 2021

Contractors in the roads construction sector have joined forces to provide free training to suppliers on sustainability issues.

Firms including Skanska, Balfour Beatty and Costain are jointly funding courses covering areas such as carbon, waste management, air quality and social value.

The scheme, which also involves Highways England and the Supply Chain Sustainability School, is part of work towards achieving the government’s net zero by 2050 target.

Andrew Spencer, head of procurement and supply chain (highways) at Skanska, told SM: “If you can offer a free training and learning resource it’s a lot easier for people to use in their business.

“We wanted a mechanism to upskill the supply chain but also drive performance tools.”

Spencer said an online tool standardised data capture, such as carbon information and number of apprentices. “We are engaging the supply chain with standardised metrics across the whole programme of works. A supplier is providing the same information to each of the tier one contractors, which enables us to get some performance management and accountability across the whole programme.

“It makes it more streamlined and efficient for the whole supply chain to provide useful information, rather than getting ad hoc requests.”

He added: “It builds on the collaborative drive of the last few years to work closer with our supply chain partners, so bringing them on the journey with us, rather than just a contractual relationship.”

More than 300 suppliers and subcontractors will have access to free training and skills development over a five-year period at the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

Shaun McCarthy, chair of the school, said: “Our mission is to build a world-class collaboration to drive sustainability skills and knowledge in the construction and infrastructure industries.”

Malcolm Dare, executive director at Highways England, said £27.4bn was being invested in roads. “We are ringfencing funds to improve the environmental, social and safety impact of the network – and this initiative is a perfect example of working in partnership with our key contractors and the wider supply chain to deliver tangible benefits in terms of skills, knowledge and overall sustainability performance.”

Construction firms Bam Nuttall, Galliford Try, Graham, NMCN, Kier, Osborne, Vinci, and VolkerFitzpatrick are also involved.

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