Contractor GRAHAM has welcomed 16 new starts to its Building North division as the firm underlines its ambition to be an industry leader for fairness, inclusion and respect.
In a strategic partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), nine Ukrainian refugees have been employed as general labourers across the PLATFORM_ Glasgow and Candleriggs Square build-to-rent (BTR) sites in Glasgow.
DWP has been supporting Ukrainian refugees to prepare for and find construction work in Scotland by helping them to complete their Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) training and accreditation. GRAHAM then stepped in to offer one-year fixed work contracts, taking the time to meet with the new starts individually to ensure that they felt confident within their new role.
Whilst currently living in nearby city centre-hotels or on the cruise ship docked on the River Clyde dedicated for refugee accommodation, some of the team plan to use their wages to pay for private rental accommodation in the city until it is safe to return home. Some have families living in Ukraine and are sending their earnings home to loved ones.
The partnership is also helping people find their first full-time job and forms part of GRAHAM’s wider strategy to encourage people from varying backgrounds to consider a career in construction.
This includes a link-up with Action for Children, which sees GRAHAM provide both work experience and full-time positions for young people from challenging backgrounds. Through a dedicated Youthbuild programme, GRAHAM enables young people to gain practical experience and obtain a five-year CSCS card, helping them to get out into the working world.
Debbie Rutherford, Social Impact Manager at GRAHAM, said:
“Our Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Plan and Charter influences every decision we make at GRAHAM. We are incredibly proud to champion a diverse workforce and we are consistently looking at how we can create bespoke opportunities for hard to reach groups.
“Working with DWP is an example of how we can collaborate to provide positive employment and development opportunities. Employing Ukrainian refugees is a unique example of encouraging people from diverse backgrounds into construction. Whilst we can’t begin to imagine the hardship that many have faced back home before arriving in Scotland, we are proud to hear about the positive impact guaranteed employment for at least one year is having on their mental wellbeing.
“Next year, we will continue our mission to ensure that people from disadvantaged backgrounds have equal opportunities into a career in construction. We’re looking forward to welcoming many new recruits through our dedicated GRAHAM Academy, as well as partnership opportunities.”
Teresa McGoldrick, Employment and Partnership Advisor at DWP, said:
“It has been a really productive and incredibly warming experience re-engaging with GRAHAM to support their recruitment. Working with Debbie Rutherford at GRAHAM and my colleagues across DWP to ensure members of the displaced Ukrainian community have opportunities to work in construction and administrative roles has been an absolute pleasure.
“Our partnership working to provide support, training and the necessary certificates has allowed a number of Ukrainian people the chance to earn a living, support their families and feel part of the community here in Scotland. This has been an invaluable experience and GRAHAM has contributed hugely by acting responsively and continue to do so.”