Surinder Nijjer Chairman of Fortel and Skanska’s Initiative to Empower Homeless Youth in Construction


In collaboration with Skanska and London’s New Horizon Youth Centre, Fortel has been actively guiding homeless youth towards careers in construction. This partnership focuses on delivering practical workshops and personalised guidance to help young individuals secure stable employment in the construction sector.

Targeted Workshops and Personal Guidance

Initially, the workshops consisted of group discussions about construction careers, followed by detailed one-to-one advice. Kam Dale, Contracts Manager at Fortel, observed that the larger group settings were somewhat disruptive. He remarked, “We quickly realised that smaller groups or individual meetings were more effective, and we adjusted our approach accordingly.”

Continuing Despite Challenges

Despite setbacks, such as the pause of major works last summer, the initiative pressed on. “Even when things got tough, like when major construction projects paused, we didn’t give up and continued our workshops. Towards the end, we discovered three ready-to-work individuals, but had limited positions available,” Kam explained.

Successful Collaborations for Job Placement

This challenge led to innovative solutions through industry collaboration. Kam reached out to other social value managers, helping to secure positions for two of the young people.

Over the past year, this initiative has not only helped young people secure jobs but has also demonstrated the potential of collaborative efforts to address workforce needs in construction. “Seeing our participants start successful careers is rewarding and motivates us to continue these efforts,” Kam noted.

This partnership exemplifies how targeted support and cross-industry cooperation can effectively assist homeless youth in starting new careers, ultimately benefiting the entire construction industry.