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Construction Professional

Passing the baton

The Orchestra training programme developed by France’s Vinci has been redesigned for the UK and looks to be striking a chord with project teams here, writes Vinci’s Rachel Jamed.

SINCE VINCI CONSTRUCTION began its Orchestra training programme in 2007, more than 11,000 employees around the globe have completed it. Now it’s Vinci Construction UK’s turn, and the experience promises to revolutionise on-site working practices. John Millington, a senior project manager with Vinci UK, says: “Orchestra provides a framework that gives our project teams a structured approach to the delivery of projects and is intended for anyone responsible for supervising work on site.” Led by a professional external trainer and a technical facilitator from within the business, the intensive three-day course encompasses practical and technical exercises. Orchestra challenges participants to solve problems using real projects and genuine situations. Millington says it will help to fi ll gaps

in experience. “Completing Orchestra ensures that our people have the right skills for the task. For some it will serve as a refresher course or opportunity to get back to basics. For others, Orchestra may indeed be the fi rst time they have been exposed to certain operational methods.” On completion of the course, those managing work on site — regardless of background, experience or role — will be equipped to perform consistently with equal degrees of capability and expertise.

Once they have returned to site the participants will implement what they have learned and the benefi ts of this knowledge will then be transmitted to their teams.

Arranging Orchestra for the UK In the seven years since it was conceived, the programme has evolved from its original template. Millington says: “We have redesigned Orchestra from the ground up to meet the specifi c requirements of our UK operations. The team here deliberately put aside translated training materials so they would not be too heavily infl uenced by what had been done before. “In France, a great deal of construction

work is self-delivered, whereas here in the UK it is more common to subcontract most of it. And whereas the French template has been divided into several programmes to suit different sectors, in the UK we were keen to have one common training programme across all our building and civil engineering projects.” Feedback from the working group

and from participants on the pilot programme that was run in June, proved to be invaluable in helping Millington and his team to work with the training provider to refi ne Orchestra, removing

Vinci Construction UK’s Orchestra programme is an opportunity for participants at all levels in the organisation to develop their skills

On completion those managing work on site — regardless of experience — will be equipped to consistently perform with the same degree of capability

bugs in the technical exercises and ensuring every section was as engaging as possible. Millington believes that Orchestra will now become as integral to Vinci Construction UK’s culture and ethos as another recent training initiative: the Empower leadership programme. The two initiatives are meant to

complement one another, with one providing technical skills and the other leadership and management qualities. The result will be a powerful combination of the skill sets essential to the delivery of projects.

Impact of the initiatives Although it only started running last year, the Empower initiative has already had a tremendous impact on the people who have completed it. Jo Mercer, head of organisational development, explains how the Orchestra and Empower initiatives help the company create a winning team. “Empower looks at behaviours and encourages participants to take ownership and be accountable for their actions. Orchestra is the practical realisation of this, enhancing technical skills to enable people to go back to their day jobs and make an immediate difference to project delivery,” she says. Like Orchestra, Empower has

measurable benefi ts. All Empower participants are required to develop and present a project that has a tangible outcome for the business. Initiatives that are in the process of being implemented include an employee recognition scheme and a driver safety course. As with Orchestra, the success of

Empower can also be measured by looking at the bottom line: by giving people the confi dence to challenge the status quo, cost savings and effi ciencies are being made across the business. Last, but by no means least, Empower

is having a positive effect on employee satisfaction, with areas of the business whose teams have participated in the initiative showing a 10% increase in employee engagement.


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