How H.Sweet and Sons are attracting new talent in the West of England

We catch up with H.Sweet and Sons to find out how the Enterprising West of England (EWoE) and European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme has helped them to pursue their apprenticeship scheme and recruitment drive. 


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We started in 1977 as the H's Howard Sweet. We started as a painting contractor with 16 painters. We did landmarks such as the SS Great Britain, some of the first refit, and then through the years other family members have come on board. In 2007 we became incorporated, I think we were turining over around 2 million and now we should do about 20 million this year.

We specialize in data centers, education and health care.
Our neiche is that we can work on critical services and live services while maintaining the function of the site. We pull in all the infrastructure, we can build that out so we have our own civils elements so we'll do all the ground works substructure, and then we we build the shell and core. We offfer the whole turnkey package.

We have 32 directly employed and which can rise to 80 or 90 with our subcontractors. We have 5-10 vacancies to fill, currently which we're hoping to fill in the next 12 months.

We are a growing business that is attracting good talent. Within the construction industry there is a shortage of good skilled labor so what we've done is we've actively pushed our apprenticeship scheme, so we're looking to have apprenticeships across all functions of our business.

We're looking to promote our brand within the region. The reason being it is is then easier - once you attract the talent, to keep the talent because of their work area and radius.

We contacted Get Set For Growth because we wanted them to help us define our marketing strategy: where we were going to go and how we could become more recognizable within the Southwest region. Our Business Change Manager simply phoned them [Get Set For Growth] and they were very responsive. They returned the phone call within a day or so and then the following week we sat down with the team, Toby, Phil and Fiona, and we looked at our marketing strategy. We looked at what our USP and possible clients within the Southwest region. They've been really helpful - they have good experience in the area and have given us some clear options for defining our strategy.

Going forward, the support we've received from Get Set For Growth through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Enterprising West of England (EWoE) program has been instrumental in our marketing strategy. The previous year [2018] we've seen a 25-30 percent increase in our turnover, it's allowed us to push on with our apprentice scheme so we're generating more employment within the region, which is bringing younger people in too. We've then recruited more staff also within the Bristol region as well.

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