July 7, 2021

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‘The training industry is going revolve around a blend of face-to-face and virtual’

SHP speaks to Matthew Durant, BAM Construction Training Managing Director, who was named SHP’s Rising Star in Construction, back in December.

BAM Construction Training

Image courtesy of BAM Construction Training

Matthew Durant started BAM Construction Training in 2013, with the intention to make engaging and interactive courses which put learners first. Matt is dedicated to partnering with other construction companies to provide young people with work and educational opportunities within the industry.

Matt’s journey in construction came about after he had completed an apprenticeship training scheme, which helped people with CV writing and got them into work. Off the back of that, Matt was put forward for an apprenticeship in a construction machinery driver training centre. During his two years there, Matt made friends with the sales trainer and they decided to set up their own business, BAM Construction Training.

“We provide qualifications to the construction industry, a large part of our work is providing driving licences for construction machines and making sure the operators are trained correctly, so that they can pass the test. We travel to sites to make sure operators are still competent and that the know how to operate their machines in a safe manner.”

Scroll to the bottom of this page, to listen to this interview in full.

Rising Star

Matt Durant

One of the things that SHP Awards judges highlighted, when selecting Matt as SHP’ Rising Star in Construction for 2020, was his passion and dedication for providing training for young people coming into construction and the work he does in local schools and colleges.

“It was just fantastic to be recognised, let alone winning it,” said Matt, when learning of his success.

Matt said that he ‘fell’ into construction and that no one in school at the time was really encouraging people to go into construction, “they are usually pushed towards a more academic route.”

“So, for me, I think it’s important to challenge that perspective. A lot of people in construction can earn more than people in offices, and they don’t have a big student loan to go with it. So, the reason I like to get involved in schools, is to provide them with an experience of what it’s actually like and give them an opportunity to review a job in construction and highlight some of the other roles that are available within the sector.

“You have some companies now who are employing drone technicians to do surveys, for example. That couldn’t be any more opposite to the stereotype of a construction worker.”

Safety training

Being a primarily classroom-base and practical training company, Matt’s firm has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. But, despite that, BAM Construction Training won three awards in 2020 and massively adapted to be able to operate digitally and remotely.

“Virtual training is really difficult to do with people in the construction sector, most of the work is practical. It’s so much easier to teach someone when they are there, face-to-face, but we need large practical areas to demonstrate.”

BAM Construction Training has 90x90m area, fortunately, to allow space to effectively demonstrate the machinery and allow trainees to practise using them in a real-world scenario. The large space has also meant that they have been able to operate, socially distanced, through the majority of the lockdowns.

“Everyone was in the same position during the first lockdown, it was completely unprecedented, and no one knew what to expect. So, the knee-jerk reaction was everybody stopped doing everything in the first lockdown, so we stopped. It was quiet, everybody was furloughed, nothing was going on. Then, after a few weeks, we were getting people phoning up saying, ‘our guys cannot get off the site without training’. So, we had a case for safety critical trade, which was urgent for our clients, so we started to return, bit by bit, with some one-to-one training, with all the measures in place. That made us realise that we can meet the guidelines, we are essential for these people to continue working, so from that point onwards, we were up and running.”

BAM’s other award successes saw the team win the Customer Service Excellence Award and Best Construction Provider in the South East and Matt himself won a Construction Role Model award.

“The business has been going eight years now, so I’ve had over 10 years in the industry, so it’s nice to have a bit of recognition, from a selfish perspective.”

Matt said the awards and the recognition help to raise the profile of the business and to make people aware that there are businesses out there that want the best for people. “We actively push people away from doing some courses, because you’ve got to remember that they’re doing this to get a job. So, if after this qualification you’re going to struggle to find work at the end, we’re not going to push you to do that.

“We like to take the time to talk to people, to understand their background, find out what they want to do. So, hopefully, the awards will bring more recognition the work that we do, and it will encourage more people to take the plunge and have a change in their career.”

Future of the training industry

“I think, looking forward, the training industry is going revolve around a blend of face-to-face and virtual training. A lot of industries are doing only virtual training, and I think for anyone that’s got experience using computers and technology, virtual training is going to be doing way forward because of the reduced running costs and added flexibility.

“However, from our side of things, there is only so much you can get across, through a screen. Construction is in your face, unless you can see the whites of their eyes and know that they understand it, it’s really difficult to prove that they understand the issues and get their confidence across.”

Safety & Health Podcast

Hear the full interview with Matthew, along with features on his fellow Rising Stars, below.

Subscribe and tune in the Safety & Health Podcast to discover the latest issues facing the health and safety profession, and stay on-top of the developments affecting your role, from working at height, lone working and common workplace hazards, to safety culture, behaviours, occupational health and mental health and wellbeing.

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