A steel construction company from County Durham says its progress from farm sheds to the new Nike HQ in London is the result of training support the company has received from the ECITB.

Braddan Structures joined the ECITB’s roster of companies in May 2014, with subsequent investment in training and development of their steel erectors providing the catalyst for expansion of the family-owned company based in Darlington.

Image shows three staff members from Braddan Structures outside their premises in Darlington

Darlington-based steel erectors, Braddan Structures.

Kevin Raper, Operations Manager (pictured right), said: “Since we became a leviable establishment, we’ve been able to progress from putting up farm sheds and small shops like your Aldi and Lidl supermarkets to win contracts for high rise city centre buildings all over the country.

“The secret to landing these prestigious contracts has been the skills-specific training offered by the ECITB, which has opened the door to bid for and win the next level of fabrication contracts.”

Kevin says companies like theirs stand to benefit from the industrial training levy through ECITB-funded training for steel construction workers.

“Looking at the levy as simply a tax is wrong; it is an investment. We have always valued training and qualifications but we now understand the potential growth opportunities training can bring too.

“I think similar small steel contractors don’t quite understand the levy and the benefits it could offer. Coming in-scope gives you a huge opportunity to grow your business.”

The company, which directly employs a workforce of 35, says engagement with the ECITB to make full use of levy grants to develop staff has given them a competitive advantage.

“The steel erecting industry has an ageing workforce and one of the hardest things for a firm like us is recruitment,” said Daniel Caddick, Steel Erection Supervisor (pictured middle).

“Being a levy payer takes the risk out of training. We have grown our business by bringing in new employees and investing in workplace upskilling, which with the support of the ECITB, meets the highest standards of safety and quality. By holding the right industry safety cards and recognised qualifications we are able to win contracts from a much more prestigious clientele.”

And Braddan Structures, which has bucked the industry trend and seen the average age of its employees fall in recent years, is about to become an ECITB approved training centre in its own right.

Daniel said: “We are now approved to deliver steel erecting VQ’s level 2 and level 3 in-house with 2 recently qualified NVQ assessors in Dan and Brad Caddick, this will allow us to continue this path of growth and to make sure we have the best workforce possible with the opportunity to offering training commercially in the future.”

Braddan Structures, which holds highly regarded industry qualifications including level 6 construction site management, has recently been awarded the Gold Standard by the ECITB Skills and Training Charter and aims to begin taking on apprentices soon.