Leeds firm tackles skills deficit by promoting work-life balance

A YORKSHIRE company is doing its bit to reduce the skills deficit by ensuring that more parents have the chance to enjoy rewarding careers in engineering and construction.

Ben Beaumont, the director of 48.3 Scaffold Design
Ben Beaumont, the director of 48.3 Scaffold Design

48.3 Scaffold Design, which has a base in Leeds, is committed to ensuring that the working day is sympathetic to family life.

Ben Beaumont, a director of 48.3 Scaffold Design, hopes other firms will also hire more parents to boost economic growth.

He said: “Between the three directors of 48.3, we have eight children under the age of ten, so we are all very familiar with the transferable skills, and characteristics, parents develop.”

Mr Beaumont said planning, patience, diligence, and a caring nature are all highly valued by his firm.

He added: “The prospect of finding talented parents was extremely appealing to us and aligned perfectly with our existing values. “We have worked really hard to make our roles family friendly. We built our internal systems and processes around mobile and flexible working, and make sure that our ‘family first’ attitude is reflected in how we all work, day in, day out.

“Worrying about who will pick the kids up, or feeling guilty for not spending enough time with the family, affects many working parents; we don’t want that for our team, so we do what we can to make things better.”

The company has flexible working times so staff can drop off and pick up their children from school.

He added: “The day you need to work from home or collect the kids isn’t the same week to week; finding child care for an inset day can be hard.

“We believe that if we can help with those things, our staff will be happier, less stressed and more productive when they are working.

“The results have been great,’’ Mr Beaumont said. “We’ve found doing this has made our staff more committed. They all understand that we have deadlines to meet and projects to deliver, so when we have to, we pull together and go the extra mile to deliver.

“There is a real willingness to do this because of the environment we have created and because we view employment as a mutual partnership.

“I’m a big believer in the law of reciprocity, and this is evidence of how our positive actions have come back to us.”

48.3, which has 13 staff, is working with Premier Parents recruitment, a company which was launched last year by Sacha Atherton, an unemployed single mother, with the aim of ensuring that more employers around Britain attract and retain skilled staff.

Ms Atherton launched her specialist recruitment agency for parents after quitting her previous job when she struggled to cut her hours. She wanted to spend more time with her daughter, Jaya, who is now six.

Ms Atherton said she aimed to make the recruitment process in the UK much more inclusive and family-friendly. She said she wanted to open up more family-friendly roles, so that parents can pursue great careers in industry, without compromising the “quality time” they spend with their families.

She added: “There is a huge untapped pool of people that can’t even get past the application stage, but they could address the skills gap across multiple industries, and help our economy.”