Blog: People Development SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Southern Construction Framework (SCF)

16 June 2020

sponsored by Cheesmur Building Contractors

People Development SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Southern Construction Framework (SCF)

SCF is a construction procurement framework for public authorities across the South of England and is delivered directly via a joint working partnership arrangement between Hampshire County Council and Devon County Council. In the six years of the partnership, £143m of savings have been achieved through projects to the value of over £3bn. Over 180 projects have been awarded through the framework for 86 public authorities, facilitating opportunities to nearly 200 apprentices - with over a third now permanently employed in the industry.

The SCF team has worked hard to use their unique position to inspire future generations of construction professionals and support industry initiatives via their framework contractors. Having received feedback from their framework contractors, there was an underlying issue that there was a lack of understanding and awareness of career pathways within the construction industry. Therefore, SCF heavily focussed its marketing efforts on inspiring the younger generation, making them more aware of the opportunities available to them and making construction an attractive industry for a career. In addition to various social media campaigns such as ‘National Apprenticeship Week’, the decision was made to create a ‘careers in construction video’ which was easy to understand and could form the start of a discussion within schools about the variety of interesting jobs available. SCF also uses its position in the market to promote mental health issues in the industry and ensure that support is at hand for those who work for its appointed contractors.

One key initiative was to create new incentives and schemes for contractors to attract more people to the ever-growing construction industry. One route to SCF achieving this was via their framework contractors. In line with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), SCF set minimum apprenticeship weeks for each project and made it an essential aspect of the project criteria that the contractors are obliged to fulfil. Enforcing this has helped facilitate over 11,500 of trainee weeks on site.

Key to the management of this is that these apprentices are specifically SCF apprentices, and in addition to those the contractors would normally have taken on. They are identified and tracked through their progress to avoid double-counting, ensuring real added value from the process.

Key aspects of their strategy:

  • Consistently striving for new, innovative business efficiencies
  • Tailor-made training and development programmes
  • Flexible working to help balance work with personal life
  • 70% of total workforce has engaged in external training 
  • Employee ‘Valuing Performance’ reviews to set individual goals and discuss ongoing development
  • Created an internal ‘Team Values’ handbook
  • High staff retention and satisfaction levels
  • Long-serving staff members, who have been encouraged to train and develop staff
  • Increasing employee productivity
  • Positive impact on local economies and facilitated opportunities to nearly 200 apprentices


  • Leading industry apprenticeship scheme – facilitating opportunities for nearly 200 apprentices and delivered over 11,500 apprentice trainee weeks, with a third now permanently employed in the industry.
  • Upskilling supply chain initiatives
  • Early monitoring of SCF apprentice development data and local spend with SMEs - on average contractors spend 60% with local businesses and 85% spent with SMEs.

About the People Development Award: 

People are our greatest asset and this award recognises organisations that appreciate and nurture their workforce to ensure they maximise the value of everyone’s contribution to the business. By creating inclusive workplaces which support people of all abilities through training initiatives, education, mentoring, support networks and innovative programmes, companies can demonstrate a significant impact on the future of their businesses and the wider construction industry.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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