Mind the Gap


The construction industry, like many others is struggling to recruit and retain staff. With the UK needing to fill an expected 216,800 construction jobs by 2025, Ashe is committed to doing all it can to fill the skills gap and ensure a steady flow of new recruits joins the industry with the essential knowledge and experience needed for rewarding careers in the sector.

Through social value initiatives and establishing Ashe’s ASPIRE Academy, the company invests in training the next generation of carpenters, roofers, site managers and surveyors, to roles such as accounts and human resources. All ensuring the company can deliver the best projects for clients and has new talent to fill the spaces left by those retiring at the end of their careers.

There’s lots of opportunity to progress with Ashe and anyone joining as an apprentice has a chance to develop into senior roles with hard work and commitment.

Two new recruits are Bradley and Gulsheer who have joined Ashe following their T levels.

Gulsheer is an apprentice construction site supervisor and knew that going down the apprenticeship route was the right thing to do after completing his T Level in construction design, planning and surveying. He explains: “When I found out that you could do a T-level in construction, I knew it would give me the chance to learn while being practical. The course not only allowed me to acquire comprehensive knowledge but also enabled me to explore a diverse range of building sites. The invaluable work experience during the programme has given me a really good insight into the world of construction.

“I had a limited understanding of the industry but during my course I spent every Monday for 10 months doing work experience with Ashe who were constructing the new South Central Institute of Technology building at Milton Keynes College, where I was a student. The experience exposed me to lots of aspects of the building process.

“I met key people who played important roles in the process including the planner, the temporary works manager, and project manager who all generously helped me with my college projects, patiently answering my questions and helped me to integrate into the team.”

He adds: “The industry has seen a decline in the number of young people joining it, therefore I saw this as a great opportunity because demand for young people will increase as the workforce gets older. There is loads of teamwork and I’m a team player and there’s also lots of opportunity to grow and go into different roles.”

Gulsheer will experience various departments on rotation during his apprenticeship, so that he has a comprehensive understanding of the entire project lifecycle.

He’s recently been working with Ashe’s health and safety manager and learnt the safety protocols and how they are implemented on sites. He’s also seen how the weather can change the course of work and how important it is for teams to react and make crucial decisions.

Another apprentice is Bradley, who has also joined as a trainee construction site supervisor following a work experience placement during his T Level in design, surveying and planning at Bedford College.

He completed his placement with Ashe working on a project at Biddenham International School.

Following his apprenticeship, he would like to continue with further studies to achieve a construction related degree. “You’ve definitely got to have strong organisational skills and the ability to adapt. You need to be able to quickly absorb and relay information and have a proactive approach to solving problems,” says Bradley.

He sees the bigger picture when it comes to careers in construction: “The built environment provides the foundations for world needs so a career in construction is really exciting.  One of the reasons I want to work in construction is that it will encourage me to maintain an innovative mindset for the future. Ashe have made me feel very welcome. I’ve worked closely with my colleagues, and they have made me feel like a valued member of the team.”

Working in the estimating department has been an eye-opener for Bradley. He explains: “The biggest surprise has been seeing how complex the job is and the work rate being put in to provide a compliant tender submission. Seeing every role playing their part from the graphic designer to responding to pre-qualification questions surrounding sustainability. There’s so much that goes into it.”

Head of People and Development, Louise Hopper, says: “It’s a pleasure to see talented people start their careers with Ashe. We invest in the future through our ASPIRE Academy and I look forward to welcoming many more individuals, as well as developing existing employees, through the programme over the coming years.”

The ASPIRE Academy champions training and development throughout Ashe Group and in December 2023, 13% of the workforce was a member of the Academy undergoing some form of training. On average Ashe employees each received eight days of training in 2023.

There are plenty of opportunities through various programmes for staff to achieve trade and professional qualifications from apprenticeships through to senior management training.

Managing director, Ian Robbins, is a great example of someone who has worked his way up through the company and said: “A big welcome to Gulsheer and Bradley. Developing staff is a focus for our business. I started with Ashe in 2000 as a site supervisor and I’m a prime example of how it is possible to develop your career within a company. I look forward to following your careers and to seeing your personal achievements over the coming years.”

Read the career stories behind some of Ashe’s people here