As part of their induction, our trainees and graduates prepare for their careers with BAM by undertaking our Trainee and Graduate Challenge.
Following the launch of our new sustainability strategy and target to enhance one million lives by 2020, last year, we challenged eight teams of our graduates and trainees to Enhance Lives over a six month period. With the help and support from the whole business, the teams connected with 3,851 people and improved 406 lives. So, how did they achieve this?
Over the six-month period, the eight teams raised a total of £15,000 for nine different charities. Their fundraising activities varied from relatively small events such as cake sales, charity jumper days and Movember, to larger events such as raffles. Two teams organised raffles across BAM offices and sites, and one team contacted subcontractors and suppliers from across our supply chain to donate prizes, and through this collaboration were able to offer tablets and spa days as prizes!
Many of the teams also organised or took part in sporting events. One graduate ran a half marathon, a team of five organised and completed a 10km swim, and teams from two of our regions planned their own football tournaments.
Every BAM employee has two days of paid volunteering available, and the BAM Trainee and Graduate Challenge is an ideal opportunity to promote this to our young people. Over the six month challenge, the teams gave 1,323 hours of volunteering time, helping to support 20 charities and community groups.
One team used their volunteering days at the Booth Centre in Manchester, which provides food, showering facilities and activities for the homeless, while another team helped to transform a women’s refuge in south London into a bright, clean and colourful environment. The team in the North West partnered with some of the No.1 Spinningfields supply chain (a BAM Project in Manchester) to refurbish the Cheetham Hill Advice Centre, and one team helped to redecorate two mobile classrooms and an entrance hall for a primary school in Wellingborough for disabled children.
The challenge also built on our existing relationships, with the Scottish team volunteering at the Baltic Street Adventure Playground (BSAP) in Dalmarnock, a project that we have helped with for many years.
Our teams engaged with 2,542 students from 44 schools, colleges and universities. Our industry is facing a skills gap, so it’s important to engage with young people to open their eyes to the world of construction and the opportunities available to them.
Our trainees and graduates worked closely with schools and colleges, attending career days and events, giving talks during assemblies and taking part in woodworking sessions. They also organised site visits for students, followed by construction-related classroom activities such as building the longest bridge out of straws and tape. Activities and events like these give young people an opportunity to ask questions about the different roles in construction and also the different routes into a career, including our trainee and postgraduate opportunities. Our trainees and graduates are able to give first hand tips and guidance, with some even going on to take on mentoring roles.
All of the teams organised for local children to get kitted out in PPE to visit their local site, to see first-hand what goes on within a BAM site. The teams also organised other activities to get the local children involved in the projects, such as:
- getting the children to draw pictures of what they had seen to make into a calendar for their parents to take home
- helping local schools to fill and bury a time capsule
- working with the children to create bug hotels, bird feeders and use old hard hats as hanging baskets
- organising a hoarding art competition
- designing and created board and card games
- organising an on-site sustainability centre that could be used by the site team throughout the project.
Growing young BAM
The challenge isn’t just about helping others; it also helps to grow our young people’s skills too. As graduates and trainees, many of them are new into the world of work, and this challenge gives them a great introduction to BAM as a company and offers them a chance to meet people in different roles from across the business.
Having to prepare written reports, speak to external stakeholders, give presentations and even explore the power of social media (one team used Facebook Live to draw their raffle winner), the challenge gives our graduates and trainees a structured and safe environment where they can learn from their experiences. After the challenge our young people have a better understanding of how BAM works and the values that we live by, having gained experience and confidence, and being proud of what they have achieved.