Back in April this year, The Parliamentary Review reported on the foundation of GetBuilding.co.uk, a new business venture spearheaded by George Nixon, founder and managing director of London-based property developer, William George Homes. GetBuilding.co.uk, made up of a group of investors and recognised housebuilders, has been active in helping firms struggling financially as a result of the Covid-19 situation, and is targeted toward businesspersons and homeowners whose premises or properties are considered to have development potential.
Get Building has been seeking to help these individuals with cashflow issues for a circa 12-month period, discussing the client’s full needs to come up with a tailored solution, while working on gaining the relevant planning permission for their property.
However, rather than simply functioning with these short-term goals in mind, Nixon insists that Get Building is focused very much on the bigger picture and ensuring that the building industry is able to address some of its longstanding challenges and thrive in the future.
In an appearance on the Leaders Council podcast, Nixon explained that one of Get Building’s longer term goals was to help address the well-documented skills shortage which has blighted the industry for many years, particularly with the full enactment of Brexit looming at the end of the year and increased numbers of people now seeking employment who will be willing to upskill and switch into different industries.
Nixon said: “The building industry is not seen as glamorous, and it is male dominated. There are newer companies out there in the sector that want more diversity in their businesses, and we need to focus on the younger generation in getting more people interested in the sector. With the realities of Brexit and Covid, we are less likely to see foreign labour coming in to fill in the void, so we need homegrown talent and skills.
“An integral part of the Get Building scheme that we have launched, therefore, will be to get into contact with local schools and local developers and put the two together and ask developers to spare a morning once a month or so to show local teenagers from local schools around a building site.”
It is hoped that by giving young people this exposure to the sector, that some of the negative perceptions of the industry may change.
Nixon added: “Of course all of this would be done with health and safety in mind within the current climate, but it would allow students to see a building site at work, begin to take an interest in it and they are likely to go and tell their family and friends about the positive experience they have had from that outing. Meanwhile, it gives local development managers an opportunity to showcase their projects and really help promote the sector.”