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G&H Group co-creates Building Futures Together to give school pupils chance to forge careers in construction

G&H Group has co-created a community interest company to help school pupils experience the construction industry before choosing their GCSEs.

Building Futures Together (BFT) works with secondary schools in Leeds and Bradford to provide career guidance and opportunities in construction.

Year 9 and 10 pupils who want to try construction, those who are hard to engage with at school and those who have fallen in with the wrong crowds are being helped to avoid them becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training).

BFT runs courses in six week blocks both in the school and in G&H Group’s purpose-built Apprentice Training Academy.

Courses cover a range of issues including behaviour and attitude, measuring and drawing plans, practical sessions such as radiator and wash basin installations, calculating materials needed and creative problem solving.

As well as helping pupils forge careers, BFT helps pupils improve their self-esteem, ambitions, attendance rates, literacy and numeracy, self-awareness, empathy, creative thinking, decision making, problem solving and communication skills.

G&HBFT is run by John Thornton, a former police officer who ran numerous community intervention programmes and Darren Hamer, who started his career in construction on a YTS course before working his way up and eventually becoming director and shareholder of the £70m HB Projects company.

Graham Kelly is the third director of BFT having also started on a YTS course before creating G&H Group – a £30m mechanical and electrical company based in Pudsey.

He said: “We know from personal experience that leaving school can be daunting so we want to help pupils before they reach that point and give them chance to try vocational training too.

“Our training centre is perfect for them to use and as well as it being an eye-opener, they will have a lot of fun, really learn some valuable skills and start lifelong careers in construction.”

Director of Building Futures Together, John Thornton, said: “We know that not all pupils are academically minded, some are hard to engage, some are confused about what they are going to do when they finish school and others will sadly get involved in anti-social behaviour and crime.

“Our belief is that everyone should have the chance to understand what a career is and learn the steps and skills required to create one.

“Having given pupils a taste of construction with hands-on experience at G&H’s Apprentice Training Academy, we then work with them and their school to ensure they work hard in their remaining academic years so they can access construction-related apprenticeships and jobs.”

Darren Hamer, Director of Building Futures Together, said: “We want to help schools by working with pupils who they find hard to involve in traditional academic teaching.

“If pupils come on our course and like it, they have time to then choose GCSE subjects that will help them get a job in construction when they leave school and really give them something to work towards.

“Construction has been very good to me and my motivation now is to give something back by helping young people and inspiring those who need it most by giving them a clear pathway into work.

“There’s no reason why pupils can’t do exactly what I’ve done and have successful careers in the industry.”

Crawshaw Academy in Pudsey has already benefitted from BFT’s courses.

Student Progression and Staff Development Lead, Jane Wearing, said: “We have found BFT’s offer to be a fantastic way to get students engaged with the practical aspects of work.

“The facilities at G&H are state-of-the-art and have allowed pupils to experience plumbing and other skills first-hand.

“This has really filled a void in our provision and has had tangible benefits for our students.”

More information is available on BFT’s website:

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