24 Nov 2017

Lee Drury of Drury Joinery Services has won an award for his work with apprentices at the European Vocational Skills Week Awards on 24th November 2017. Please see press release below: –

Lee Drury

Gedling Business wins Prestigious Award for its Work With Apprentices

A small Gedling business has won a prestigious European Award for its work with apprentices. Drury Joinery Services Limited picked up the award in the micro companies sector at the closing event of the EU Vocational Skills Week in Brussels, on Friday 24th November. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships, whose award it is, received nominations from all over the European Union. In her remarks, Marianne Thyssen a senior representative of the European Commission noted the excellent practice in developing apprentices in the best traditions of one-to-one training.

Owner Lee Drury said, “!’m delighted to receive the recognition for over 15 years of working with young people, I see it as my contribution to them and the industry”. Lee was the only UK Winner from 12 categories that seek to recognise excellent work in vocational education and training, particularly apprenticeships.

Drury Joinery Services Limited is a small family business based in Gedling, a suburb of Nottingham, it has supported 8 apprentices in the past, all of who went on to work successfully in the industry. Lee is currently employing his ninth Ben Baguley, he hopes to follow the others and become a qualified Joiner. He said, “It’s great to see Lee get his award, I know that I’m going to learn a lot from him”. Those administering the awards noted Lee’s attention to detail in training and that he was also preparing them for self-employment to run their own business.

Lee came to the attention of local business NGi (UK) Limited who nominated him through their work with Gedling Borough Council. The council is working on an innovative international project to encourage small and medium sized businesses to take on an apprentice. Lee attended some specialist training offered by the council and contributed positively to the programme by offering practical suggestions based on his experience. Director Graham Wood said, “Lee brought a wealth of practical knowledge to our training that greatly improved the experience of his peers. We decided to learn more about him and his work, which convinced us we should nominate him for the award.”

Julie Beresford, Economic Growth Officer who manages the international project on behalf of Gedling Borough Council said, “We’re delighted for Lee, he represents why young apprentices can benefit enormously from working with small companies. As part of our strategy we seek to encourage and support where we can a small business to take on an apprentice.”


Marianne Thyssen is the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, as such she is the senior representative for that Directorate General of the European Commission.

The European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) is a unique platform which brings together governments with other key stakeholders, like businesses, social partners, chambers, vocational education and training (VET) providers, regions, youth representatives or think tanks. The common goal is to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships in Europe, and more recently mobility of apprenticeships has also emerged as an important topic.

The EU Vocational Skills Week is an annual event operated by the European Commission that seeks to highlight best practice in vocational education and training. It promotes contributions by business employers, apprentices and those involved in training and teaching them.

Apprenticeships as one successful form of work-based learning ease the transition from education and training to work, and evidence suggests that countries with a strong VET and apprenticeship system have lower levels of youth unemployment.


21 Nov 2017

CITB gets it, but does the rest of construction?

20 NOVEMBER, 2017

Paul Morrell the former government chief construction adviser who was an adviser to the government steering group which reviewed the CITB thoughts are set out below: –

The response to the government review of the CITB, on which I advised, shows the CITB gets it!

Specifically, that it understands that the positive result of consensus and of the review are not so much the end of a process, as the beginning of a much more challenging one – with scarcely a moment for a sigh of relief.

One question, however, is whether the industry gets it too. There is no doubt that the CITB has lost its way over the years, growing so far beyond its original purpose that the purpose itself has got lost in the mist.

The consequence is that an industry that finds it hard to lead but easy to blame, blames the CITB for everything. It is, for example, no more the fault of the CITB that there is a shortage of bricklayers now, than that there was a surplus of them when the housing market collapsed in 2009. These constantly recurring imbalances are part cyclical and part structural.

Structural failure

To the extent that they are cyclical, it is no more use railing against that than to rail against gravity. The structural matters are, however, both the evidence and the result of market failure. In a fragmented industry with a diverse and cyclical workload, the rewards for having a skilled workforce are too remote and too indirect to motivate investment.

Addressing that market failure is the purpose of the statutory levy, and it is frankly astonishing that, having contributed to it, the industry gives so little thought as to how it should be spent to best effect.

The critical need now, therefore, is for the industry, as an act of leadership, to provide and agree the vision of how the levy might be used to gather regional market intelligence at one end of the process; how developments in IT, offsite fabrication etc, might change the nature of skills needed in the future; and how people can be attracted into the industry and trained up for those future needs.

Government will expect something better than our current pitch of demanding more spending and a waiver from any restriction on the free movement of labour.

The role of the Construction Leadership Council in bringing the industry together to agree with the CITB what this adds up is critical. But it must also involve the trade associations – or at least, those who put equipping their members to make an honest living above protectionism. There should also be a proper representation of the breadth of the industry on the CITB board and council, and in government.

As Brexit simultaneously increases the need for productive infrastructure and undermines our ability both to build and pay for it, the government will expect the industry to come up with something better than its current pitch of demanding more infrastructure spending and a waiver from any restriction on the free movement of labour – including how we plan to build capacity over the next five or 10 years.

Standing up for ourselves

As part of owning the vision for the levy, the industry must be prepared to stand up to free riders and to those who pay the levy then apply all of their energies to getting it back again. Clearly no market failure is resolved  particularly in building a training fund for smaller companies from the contribution of larger ones if everyone gets their own money back.

The CITB can then focus on meeting an agreed core purpose, confident that it will be judged against proper strategic targets, rather than trying to please everyone by demonstrating that funds have been distributed fairly.

The chances of being judged positively will then be substantially enhanced if the CITB adds to its six published objectives a seventh: a programme of major internal cultural reform, replacing the sense of wading through organisational treacle, with a service culture focused on customers.

That is a particular challenge when many of those that the CITB serves don’t actually want to be its customers. But without bringing about that transformation, I fear the other six objectives will not be deliverable. The idea that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a cliche for a reason: it’s true.


09 Nov 2017

Lee Drury of Drury Joinery Services has been has been selected for the European Alliance for Apprenticeships Award 2017.

Our congratulations to Lee for being one of just 5 nominees from across the European Union. This recognises the fantastic work that Lee has done in employing, training and developing apprentices over the last 20 years.

Lee will find out whether he has won on the 24th November