Good things are happening in British business
Find out how some of our customers have evolved their businesses in innovative ways.
Read time: 4 mins Added date: 20/09/2023
Read how AccXel is helping the UK construction industry tackle skills shortages and embrace diversity and inclusion to make it a sector with a role for everyone.
A recent survey found that 48% of UK adults weren’t told about a trades job as a career option in school. So, where will the industry’s new generation come from?
The issue was raised during boardroom and succession planning discussions at KW Bell Group, a large, well-established family construction firm in Gloucestershire. The directors had concerns over how the skills shortage would impact their business.
This issue inspired third-generation family member Nicola Bird to take action. After years of research and discussions around apprenticeships and the sector’s long-term outlook, she founded AccXel - the UK’s first co-funded Construction Skills Accelerator Centre. The family firm has been a Lloyds Bank customer since its inception.
Part of the strategy for attracting more people to pursue construction careers is to make it a more diverse and inclusive industry.
Many women don’t ever consider going into construction, and Operations Director Natalie King believes this is due to insufficient information. “If more young people knew about the industry and its opportunities, it would be more attractive. Construction is not an aspirational career that’s talked about in schools; much of the advice is geared around going to university, and that’s the script we’re trying to change to get more people in,” she highlights.
Building a more inclusive industry is not only about gender diversity. AccXel has developed a person-centred approach with a mandatory mental health module for its Skill STEPS programme.
The construction industry has the highest suicide rate and is currently heavily male-orientated. Many men still don’t talk about their mental health, so AccXel brings in experts to talk about emotional intelligence.
Like many industries, construction is evolving quickly through the use of technology. For example, there’s a demand for skilled drone operators, which is bringing more women into the sector as awareness of the variety of roles increases.
AccXel has also invested in virtual reality (VR). This is being used as part of the plant operator apprenticeship programme to provide practical skills in a safe and supportive setting. The introduction of this innovative training was funded through a Lloyds Bank Asset Finance package.
Daniel Tregunna is AccXel’s Relationship Manager and points out the support given to the business extends beyond purely financial. “We’ve provided more non-banking help than actual banking. We sponsored AccXel’s first-anniversary Industry Impact Awards event last December and plan to do so again this year,” he says.
Daniel also introduced AccXel to the Lloyds Bank’s Corporate and Institutional Banking team to ensure their message is being delivered to a broader audience through events such as roundtable discussions. Earlier in the year, AccXel hosted Lloyds Bank’s ‘International Women’s Day’ event, so it’s very much a reciprocal relationship.
Nicola Bird, Founder and Managing Director, AccXel
Being accepted onto the government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers was a significant milestone. In September 2023, AccXel will have 90 apprentices and currently employs a workforce of nine.
While so much is going well, the team can’t afford to take their eye off the future. There’s been interest in taking AccXel nationwide, but maintaining the quality control, ethos, and credibility is essential because it’s more than just another education facility. Creating something bespoke and agile was one of the initial driving factors in setting up the business.
Daniel is keen to ensure that providing financial support is the bare minimum Lloyds Bank can do to help businesses. “Our funding was the trigger for us to be able to promote what AccXel is doing for the construction industry as a whole. The message is far greater, and we’ve done a lot in the background to link conversations in departments across the bank to champion them and identify new opportunities,” he concludes.
Find out how some of our customers have evolved their businesses, helping them become more productive, sustainable and inclusive.
Lloyds Bank is a trading name of Lloyds Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH.
Lloyds Bank plc. Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065. Bank of Scotland plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland no. SC327000. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Registered office 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 10399850. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278, 169628 and 763256 respectively.
Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH has its registered office at Thurn-und-Taxis Platz 6, 60313 Frankfurt, Germany. The company is registered with the Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, HRB 111650. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is supervised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht.
Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Please note that due to FSCS and FOS eligibility criteria not all business customers will be covered.
While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is correct, no liability is accepted by Lloyds Bank for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances. Specific advice should always be sought in each instance.