Directors Darren, John and Graham are three long-standing friends with extensive life experience who came together to create Building Futures Together.
As an organisation, we have a passion, desire and ambition to help pupils who are not engaged in the school curriculum.
We want to steer them away from crime, anti-social behaviour, exploitation and becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) by pointing them towards a positive alternative future.
All three of our directors left school aged 16 and went on to benefit from Youth Training Scheme programmes so we have personal experience of how important vocational education is.
All our people are fully DBS checked and follow Ofsted’s Safeguarding Children and Young People and Young Vulnerable Adults Policy.
Office for National Statistics figures in August 2021 show 631,000 people aged 16 to 24 are classed as NEET.
Young people face multiple challenges especially those who are disadvantaged as they are likely to be affected by an increased risk of negative social, economic and health issues.
A young person who experiences a period of being NEET will on average lose up to £50,000 in earnings over their working life compared to a peer who is always working or learning.
Issues affecting NEET people cost the economy and wider community around £120,000 in lifetime costs.
We want to reduce these numbers by steering youngsters into sustainable careers by working with them while they are still at school.
John manages the day-to-day activities of Building Futures Together and takes an active, hands-on role delivering sessions.
Having risen through the ranks at British Railways over 11 years after joining in a Youth Training Scheme post, John followed his passion for helping others in the community by becoming a police officer in 2003.
He is motivated to use his life and work experiences to help others, especially young people.
While working in neighbourhood policing, he created an intervention programme with Bradford Bulls to engage young people through sport.
During his time as an offender manager at HMP Leeds he created a partnership with Leeds Rhinos called ‘Onside’ to once again successfully use sport as a catalyst for positive change.
“I want to create a sustainable alternative to help young people develop careers and boost their life chances which is why I co-founded Building Futures Together.
“We need to support young people to be effective communicators and problem solvers helping them learn interpersonal skills, become creative and critical thinkers while being able to cope with emotions and stress to help them towards a positive future.”
Darren started his career in construction as a 16-year-old land surveyor in 1986 on the Youth Training Scheme.
Since then he’s held a variety of positions included land surveyor, site manager, contracts manager, construction director, pre-construction director and finally group strategy director and shareholder of the £70m HB Projects company.
In recent years Darren has focused his attention on social and community projects working as an advisor to Yorkshire Prison Group by tackling re-offending with the introduction of vocational construction skills academies.
He is a Construction Ambassador for the Construction Industry Training Board, sits on the steering group of West Yorkshire Colleges Consortium as well as being a member of the organising committee of Wakefield College’s ‘Give Construction a Try’ event.
“Having had adversity in my own life, I understand the importance of being given a second chance or for some, even that first chance.
“Construction has been very good to me and my motivation now is to give something back by helping young people and inspiring those who need it most by giving them a clear pathway into work.”
After leaving school at 16, Graham joined construction group Morfitts on a Youth Training Scheme before creating G&H Group in 1998.
Graham remains the managing director having built the business into a £30m mechanical and electrical company based in Pudsey – the town he grew up in and where he still lives today.
He firmly believes the most important characteristics for success are determination, the right attitude and hard work.
With this in mind, Graham created the G&H Apprentice Training Academy giving youngsters the chance to learn building services skills and forge careers in construction.
G&H is a strong supporter of local grassroots schools, sports, community groups and charities with over £15,000 raised last year.
“We created our Apprentice Training Academy to give young people the chance to gain practical, hands-on experience and training in our purpose-built centre.
“It is an investment in young people’s future, giving them chance through Building Futures Together to experience construction and see if it’s a career they want to pursue.”
Those who take up our courses will be able to use G&H Group’s Apprentice Training Academy just like G&H’s full-time apprentices do.
The facility is split into different booths covering a range of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and air conditioning services.
This provides G&H apprentices with a hands-on approach to learning that complements their college-based work and giving them more time on the tools.
They can also develop skills at a faster rate and to the higher G&H standard.
G&H apprentices are given the chance to try a wide range of skills.
This includes not just mechanical and electrical work but core construction skills such as bricklaying, joinery, plastering.
G&H’s programme has been a huge success and is a great opportunity for Year 9 and 10 pupils to experience a professional operation.