This is the first of a series of blogs where we catch up with some of the businesses that we work with, get to know what they do in more detail and why they get involved in our activites. This month, we had a chat with Matthew Lawrie from Keepmoat homes in Doncaster.
We have been lucky enough to have Keepmoat Homes at lots of our events across Yorkshire – but for those that aren’t aware of what you do, could you give us a bit of a background on the company and what you do?
''We are a National Housebuilder based in Doncaster, so basically, we build lots of houses all over the country. Our main market is First Time Buyer market and our main clients are Councils, Private Landowners and Homes England. We employ around 500 staff on a National basis with around 100 of these being local from the Doncaster Community, who work in our Headquarters at Lakeside Doncaster.
Within Keepmoat Homes I am the Social & Economic Impact Manager (great job title I know!!) which covers a wide range of tasks, but ultimately, I represent Keepmoat Homes in the communities in which we work on a range of different projects, from school engagement to looking to work with local community centres to develop community investment programmes. Often where we buy land from Councils Keepmoat Homes commit to delivering Employment and Skills Plans, which again I also lead on for Doncaster Region.''
Keepmoat have been to several Ahead Partnership events, but I’m aware that your community programmes extend to far more than just your involvement with us – tell us a little about your wider programme and what you’re trying to achieve?
''Each region within Keepmoat Homes has a Regional Social & Economic Impact Strategy which focusses on 5 themes. Our ‘youth engagement’ theme supports organisations like Ahead Partnership to deliver School Engagement using staff volunteering opportunities, and the other four are employment and skills, investing in communities, health and wellbeing and community cohesion.
These themes give us a clear community investment focus and include partnering with local colleges and training organisations to deliver apprenticeship and graduate programmes; working with local charity and community to invest time and funds in community projects; as well as partnering with local sport and physical education providers to deliver health and wellbeing programmes. Using our internal Social Value system, we’re able to calculate the social return on investment of our programmes, so we know that what we are doing is making an impact.
Two particular programmes that Keepmoat Homes have developed throughout 2018 which we are particularly pleased with is our Primary School Enterprise Day for Primary School Children and the Keepmoat Homes secondary School Education programme.
Both of these programmes are aimed at increasing the awareness of the Housebuilding and Construction sector. Keepmoat Homes took the decision to develop both of these programmes to support schools meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks in-particular the benchmarks relating to’ Encounters with employers and Employees’ and ‘ Linking curriculum learning to careers’. Both programmes have received really positive feedback from local and regional stakeholders which is great to hear.''
You are one of the cornerstone employers in the Doncaster area – what does this mean to Keepmoat?
''We see this as a great opportunity to engage with the school communities across Doncaster more, and show students just how exciting the world of construction is - hopefully encouraging and guiding more people into the sector.
Being a cornerstone employer shows how committed we are to engaging young people from across the Region this gives us opportunity to build and deliver even better work to support the Careers Enterprise National Careers Strategy. To demonstrate that commitment we’ll be continuing to offer advice to young people in relation to Construction; Offering work experience placements to local students and involving our supply chain as much as possible to make sure they also have opportunities to get involved. We’ll be rolling out primary and secondary school construction enterprise days and offering our services as Enterprise Advisors to support Doncaster schools too.
This is an exciting time for Doncaster and we’re really pleased to be making such an active contribution; as a cornerstone employer we hope we can inspire other organisations to get involved and help shape our future workforce.''
You personally have been to several of our events and other school activities, what has been enjoyable about volunteering your time?
''I personally find the events really engaging, fun and rewarding which for a day job is great, although my job doesn’t allow me to do this all the time I am afraid!!
The children from the schools seem to really enjoy the different events I have attended - especially the mock interviews, career panel and business enterprise events. All the events are really informative and provide the students with key information to prepare them for the ‘world of work’. The transition from a school environment to a work environment is huge and it’s so important that students start developing those soft skills now rather than later!
Volunteering is also great opportunity to give something back to the residents and communities in which we work, again on a personal level I find it really rewarding!''
If you would like to volunteer your time to help local students in Doncaster, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
< Back to all news stories