Barratt ready to rebuild apprenticeship scheme

Housebuilder Barratt is to reintroduce an apprenticeship scheme in a bid to fill the skills vacuum created by almost 20 years without HR input.

Jayne Mee, who was appointed as Barratt Developments’ first HR director for nearly two decades last year and is also the first female director on its executive committee, has drawn up a people strategy running to 2010. It includes a wide-ranging apprenticeship scheme aimed at training recruits up to NVQ level 3 (A-level) standard, and placing them in on-site managerial roles.

Mee said the company had previously employed apprentices, but in recent years had lost that talent to its subcontractors.

Barratt has also created a leadership development programme for senior managers, middle managers and high-potential staff. The latter will join a 12-month leadership programme, and will be asked to submit ideas for a Dragons Den-style competition, with the best being backed by the company.

The company has also implemented its first performance management system, with initial appraisals held in August last year.

These initiatives mark a revolution in how Barratt manages its people, according to Mee. “We didn’t have any of this before. Now it’s a case of ‘My manager is sitting down, talking to me about me’. It’s a pleasant experience for our staff,” she said.

Mee joined from pub operator Spirit Group, where she led a major staff restructure after the company sold 400 of its pubs to Punch Taverns and leased a further 750.

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