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We spoke with Beth Ruddy, Social Value Coordinator at Esh Construction, to find out more about their pledge to the local community and how this links to the Chamber initiative, Raising the Bar.

Why is social value important to Esh Construction?

Social value is important to Esh as we aim to employ, educate, engage and buy ‘local’ to make a real difference to the communities in which we work.

We work with clients, project teams and external businesses from all different sectors to deliver our award-winning programmes across West & North Yorkshire. Esh Group (Esh Construction’s holding company) was recognised for its outstanding work in the field by being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity & Social Mobility.

How do you engage with the local community?

Esh provides an array of employment opportunities to local people, including vulnerable groups and those furthest from the job market. We also offer work experience and apprenticeships to students aged 16 and over in trade and office-based environments, giving individuals an insight and understanding of the construction industry. We aim to employ locally, either direct or via our supply chains, including people who have been out
of work for longer than six months. Esh also engage with local colleges, universities and employment agencies close to our sites.

How do you further engage with young people in education?

Building My Skills is an employability programme which provides students in Year 9-12 with a rounded introduction to the world of work. Throughout an academic year, each year group receives 4 presentations from different Yorkshire-based businesses. Each business guest provides an insight into their sector and the career opportunities within their organisation. After each session, students complete a ‘Checkpoint’ task, leading to completion of their own employability portfolio.

The programme culminates with a Mock Interview Day, with all schools and businesses involved in the programme being invited to attend. Throughout the 2019/20 academic year we are working with 16 schools across Yorkshire and the Humber, engaging with over 2,500 students.

‘Get into STEM’ is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) themed Primary School programme which Esh run to engage Early Years Foundation Studies and Key Stage 1 students in construction, through an interactive workshop and a construction-themed resource kit. Esh also deliver Stay Safe presentations in primary schools located close to our schemes, to raise awareness of how to stay safe around building sites.

Why should businesses get involved with Raising the Bar?

We are really proud to be involved with Raising the Bar. We think it’s a fantastic initiative for businesses to showcase their work within the local community, so many businesses are doing their bit and should be proud of what they are achieving. Through Raising the Bar, Esh have evidenced their work with local education establishments, residents and charitable organisations, allowing us to share best practice across the industry and learn from other local businesses.