At Gallaway Construction, our dedication extends beyond just building structures; we’re committed to building lives and fostering positive change within our community. We’re pioneering a path that not only addresses the skills gap in the construction industry but also champions the cause of social values by training and employing ex-offenders, offering them a second chance at a productive life.
The construction industry is currently grappling with a significant skills shortage. By 2027, it is estimated that the sector will need approximately 225,000 new workers. We recognise that prison leavers represent an untapped resource, one that can mutually benefit both parties. Our involvement in training and employing individuals who might otherwise struggle to find employment is not just rewarding; it’s a transformative step towards altering the status quo of our industry. This initiative contributes immensely to the advancement of social values while simultaneously addressing the industry’s workforce needs.
Since 2023, I’ve had the privilege of working directly with prison leavers through the Groundworks Construction Program. Engaging with these individuals, understanding their challenges and aspirations, has been an enlightening and fulfilling experience. Our approach goes beyond mere labor provision; we’re deeply invested in their transition from incarceration to the outside world. Witnessing their transformation and readiness for the workplace, especially after the Groundwork laboring bootcamp program, is profoundly gratifying.
My journey began with offering interview guidance within prisons, but it quickly evolved into a more grassroots approach. Many of the individuals I met had never experienced a job interview or formal employment. This realisation prompted a shift in my teaching method, focusing more on workplace etiquette and expectations. As trust developed, I was able to give them a real sense of what life on a building site entails, from day one until project completion. This not only set realistic expectations but also ignited a sense of hope and excitement about their future opportunities.
The sense of pride and joy I feel knowing that providing the right opportunities and support can significantly reduce the likelihood of reoffending is immeasurable. Over the past year, Gallaway Construction has actively developed relationships with Groundworks, a not-for-profit organisation. We’ve worked with inmates from H.M.P. Forest Bank Men’s Prison and H.M. Styal Women’s Prison, enhancing the program with mock interviews, construction introductions, and employability programs.
Once these individuals join Gallaway Construction on our sites, they receive additional support and guidance to help them adjust to their new work environment. This transition can be challenging, but with proper training, mentoring, and support, we ensure their success in their new roles. At Gallaway Construction, we’re not just building projects; we’re building futures, fostering inclusivity, and changing lives. Our commitment to these values underscores our pioneering spirit in promoting social change within the construction industry.