Retaining a highly skilled and passionate workforce who work within a safe and supportive environment and help us to contribute to wider society
"We will retain a highly skilled and passionate workforce which enables us to run a successful and sustainable business. Our staff will be supported in their roles and this will also be extended to our contractors' operatives. Health and safety will remain as a focus area, ensuring that our sites are healthy and safe places to work. Through the Berkeley Foundation we will continue to provide funding and support for worthy causes and will have enabled many young people to get into work."
Berkeley has autonomous management teams which operate under five core brands: Berkeley; St George; St James; St Edward and Berkeley First. These teams represent the people charged with implementing The Group's strategy across all of its day to day operations. Recruiting and retaining a high calibre workforce is crucial to our approach. We need all of our people to engage in The Group's philosophy, to show the passion for excelling in every area of the business with the Berkeley spirit of entrepreneurial flair and to share in our aspiration for long-term success and sustainability.
Headcount has more than doubled from some 700 in April 2009 to over 1,400 in April 2013. This growth is coupled with an essential stability which continues to retain a core pool of knowledge and experience within the Group, demonstrated by an average service length of 10 years for Directors.
The skills, expertise and knowledge of our staff are paramount to securing the long-term success of the business. They must be provided with a supportive working environment and any training required to complete their role. In 2014 we will also be introducing a Health Promotion Programme for our staff.
In recent years the Group has developed a particular focus on helping young people into work. Our graduate scheme has been running since 2006 and 87 graduates remain in the business today. In 2013 a new Berkeley Sales Academy was formed to provide structured training for junior sales consultants, and there are now 12 employees from the Academy working for Berkeley.
In terms of our wider role, in 2012 we directly or indirectly supported approximately 16,000 jobs in the UK, including 7,447 contractors' employees. On average, 4.5 new jobs are created for each home built. This includes over 115 full time apprenticeships on our sites during 2012 to help young people to gain experience and develop core skills to help provide the workforce of the future. Currently 7% of our own workforce and those working on our construction sites are employed in an apprenticeship or training role.
2013 has seen significant change as the Group has enhanced its Health & Safety arrangements in support of continuing strong growth in production. Our 'Good Order' and 'Good Work' programmes provide continued focus on delivering the highest Health and Safety standards on our sites. This has been further reinforced through increased focus on risk and a drive for all to show strong Health & Safety leadership.
Our Accident Incident Rate (AIR) is 2.99 (2012: 2.69), and Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) is 0.147 (2012: 0.132). This performance level is within our Vision 2020 commitment, and one which continues to outperform the industry.
Our commitment to high Health & Safety standards has been recognised externally by both RoSPA and the NHBC. We received 2 Silver Awards, 9 Gold Awards and 5 Gold Medal Award from RoSPA this year, our best performance to date. 4 of our sites have been shortlisted for the NHBC Health & Safety Awards in the 'Best Site Award' category.
The Berkeley Foundation, launched in March 2011, has so far committed £2.8 million to more than 40 charities and worthy causes. These range from partnerships with major national charities to small local charities chosen by our staff. Our focus areas are tackling homelessness and youth employment.
The money comes from two sources. Staff from the Berkeley Group have raised £550,000 from friends, family, colleagues and other companies. The rest is given to the Foundation by the Berkeley Group itself or generated through fundraising events. Alongside the money they raise, staff donate through Give As You Earn and offer their time and talent to support individual causes. The group match funds all the cash raised by staff for the Foundation.
The Berkeley Foundation annual report contains more details of how this money is disbursed through a small set of strategic partnerships, through a series of designated charities chosen by our local offices and through grants and sponsorship.