The company has always been a strong believer in breeding its own workforce through apprenticeships and training and it is a policy which has served the company extremely well through the years and continues to do so.
I should know. I started with the firm in 1988 (when I was, obviously, very young!) straight from school. I had not done as well as I wanted in my A Levels so therefore did not go straight to university but joined Deeley as I wanted to be a quantity surveyor.
I could not have made a better decision. In the intervening years I studied for my ONC in Building Studies at Coventry College and then my HNC at Coventry University before doing a degree in Quantity Surveying at what was then the University of Central England.
I then went on to earn my professional qualifications MRICS and MCIOB to complete my training.
Through all that time I was working at Deeley, gaining hands-on practical experience that, for me, made learning the theory so much more relatable.
I am not alone. Around 25 per cent of our workforce has been taken on through an apprenticeship or trainee programme. We find that it allows us to teach them the “Deeley Way” helping to shape what they learn to not only give them a thorough grounding but to also improve our all-round capability.
Our colleagues also enjoy working with younger people and passing on the skills they have learned while working for us, while apprentices tend to stay longer with an employer than other staff.
Currently 15 per cent of Deeley Group’s employees are in an apprenticeship or undergoing further learning programmes, so it is a trend which continues and impacts positively on every part of the group’s operations.
We currently have trainees on site, in accounts, and in marketing, while several of our senior team have come through the ranks after starting as trainees.
Even last year in the depths of the pandemic we took the bold step to recruit two new management trainees having previously engaged with their school and offering them work experience the year before. Only today, I have had a Teams meeting with Jack and Tom to review their progress – it so encouraging to see their passion to learn and progress through the company and it took me back to 1988!!
February 8 sees the start of National Apprenticeship Week, and while activities will be limited by Covid restrictions, it an important initiative – important for young people to realise what an apprenticeship or traineeship can lead to, and important for companies to tap into the rich vein of potential talent which can serve them well.
By Martin Gallagher, Managing Director, Deeley Construction
‘The Willows’ development, which is three miles from Melton Mowbray, is a partnership between Midlands-based developer Deeley Homes (part of the Deeley Group) and social housing and care organisation emh group.
It is the first time the two organisations have worked together on a development, which will provide a mix of social rented, shared ownership and market sale homes.
The scheme will see more than two thirds of the houses delivered as affordable homes, contributing to targets in the East Midlands, while supporting the demand for homes of this type in Asfordby and surrounding communities.
Deeley Homes partnered with emh group to purchase the site and detailed planning permission was granted for the development in June 2020.
Fifteen of the homes will be sold privately under the Deeley Homes banner, emh group is also developing its first market sale units here as well as shared ownership and rented accommodation to meet demand on the housing register.
The developers have committed to making a range of improvements in the area near the development to make the area safer and enhance infrastructure for the community.
This includes improving highway safety outside the nearby primary school, upgrading local bus stops, providing bus passes and travel packs to new residents and also contributing to libraries and secondary education provision in the area.
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “This development is crucial in providing vital affordable housing to people in and around Asfordby, and we’re pleased to announce work is now underway on site.
“This is a development that is designed to respond to the requirements of people who live in the area and we are pleased to have partnered with emh group to ensure that this is the case.
“It is the first time we have worked alongside emh group on a project and we hope this will be the start of a fruitful partnership.
“In addition to the affordable homes delivery we will be bringing a collection of new Deeley Homes properties to the market and there is expected to be high-demand for these properties in the region.
“The development is perfectly positioned with excellent school options for residents and good transport links to major nearby towns.
“As part of the scheme we are making a range of local infrastructure improvements too and we believe the development will be of great benefit to the community of Asfordby.”
Chris Jones, Executive Director of Development at emh group, said: “As a strategic partner of Homes England, the government homebuilding agency, we aim to deliver 600 new affordable homes across the East Midlands every year.
“We are delighted that our first project with Deeley Homes, and first market sale homes, has started on site, and through this strong partnership we are contributing to meeting the housing needs and aspirations of people in the Melton Borough Council area with new homes for shared ownership and affordable rent.”
There have – just in the last 15 years never mind the previous 85 – been huge advances in the property industry, be that in construction methods, health and safety, procurement or communications. The list is endless.
Yet, while Deeley has embraced all that change and very much been an early adopter of new initiatives, we are still underpinned by the values passed on from my father: integrity, partnership, community, respect and agility.
Those are all very important elements of what has helped the company thrive. There is no question that agility has proved to be vital in our continued success. We cannot simply create a market, but we can follow one, and we can shape one and I think our history shows that we have done that successfully.
In the 1950s and 1960s, for example, we embraced the expansion of the comprehensive school system and constructed three of the major schools in Coventry and continue to work across primary and secondary education.
But in recent years, we have worked on numerous projects for universities as Higher Education has gone through a similar expansion, gaining an insight to customer needs, keeping ahead of trends and constantly developing our expertise.
Presently we are very strong in the construction and creation of care homes and once again we have developed a significant knowledge and understanding of the sector meaning we are very much partners of our clients.
My father became renowned in the late 1930s and 1940s for building the best air raid shelters in Coventry – he certainly didn’t create that market, but he responded to it!
All of those values I mention also come down to people – and I know that the quality of the team we have always had at Deeley, has been a key to our success.
We work in partnership with other firms of all industry disciplines, and, more often than not, they are on-going relationships many of which stretch back decades. That does not happen without people with integrity and ability.
Deeley has always believed in nurturing talent and that has helped us instil these values over decades. Seeing people develop through every level of the business over the years is a record of unending pride.
Martin – the MD of Deeley Construction – started with us as a trainee straight out of education and now leads a major part of the business. Eleanor – our deputy MD of the Deeley Group – used to open the post on a Saturday morning as an eight-year-old (not that she had much of a choice!).
There are countless examples throughout every sphere of our operations, and it is a major factor in our success.
Like all firms in property and construction, we have had our dark periods, but the quality of our people, the agility we have shown along with our reputation and our professional abilities have seen us through.
They are also the reason why we have responded so well during these dreadful times, to keep working, keep our projects on track and keep our customers satisfied.
Without exception, the Deeley team has embraced the enforced changes and reacted magnificently – and I thank every colleague for that.
So, while reaching our 85th anniversary is a milestone and one to celebrate, we look back only to reflect on qualities which have helped us thrive – and to ensure they will continue to drive the Deeley Group to a successful future.
Built Environment Skills in Schools (BESS) recently launched the new virtual work experience platform – with traditional work experience likely to remain disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic for the foreseeable future.
Deeley Group has added a new task to the on-demand service which allows pupils to access real-world built environment tasks at any time.
By adding a task to the service, the company is supporting the Government’s BuildBackBetter commitment to showcase the industry to young people over the next decade.
The short task which can be completed from home showcases a project that demonstrates local redevelopment and the challenges of effective site management.
Edward Hudson, Business Development Manager at Deeley Group, said: “We were excited to create a 45-minute virtual work experience task that students all around the UK can complete in their own time and learn more about the work we do.
“We are so proud of the exciting and complex projects we deliver for our clients, but sometimes it can be difficult to explain what we do to young people.
“We work closely with a number of schools based near our construction sites and will be looking to engage with the easy and fun task we have creative, which we hope goes some way to painting a picture of what it is like to work in the construction industry.
“BESS has built a great platform to support their extensive network of schools, and it was a no-brainer for us to use our own in-house skills and expertise to develop a challenging student task.”
Kathryn Lennon-Johnson, founder of BESS, said: “It’s such an honour to have a respected business like Deeley Group supporting this initiative.
“Our on-demand virtual work experience platform allows young people to explore the construction industry at their own pace while ensuring they are completely safeguarded.
“Creating new housing and retail is such an important investment for communities, and allowing young people to be part of a real project helps to bring the industry to life.”
The BESS on-demand Virtual Work Experience platform is promoted into more than 4,000 UK senior schools and offers unrestricted use by students.
The BESS platform is available at www.virtualworkexperience.beskillsinschools.co.uk
The Deeley Group Platform is also available here Virtual Work Experience Task.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, paid a visit to the site of the former Dartmouth School in Wyken which is being re-developed by Coventry-based family firm the Deeley Group for leading housing provider Stonewater.
The Mayor met with Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group which is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, at the site and learned about the plans to build 39 new homes, including 23 affordable rented and 16 shared ownership properties.
It had been a redundant brownfield site for more than five years before Stonewater bought it from Coventry City Council.
On completion it will feature a mix of two, three and four-bedroom houses and provide vital housing to the local community.
Andy Street praised the firm’s plans to regenerate the site and that the project aligns perfectly with his region-wide championing of a brownfield first approach to housing.
He said: “The two key components for building new homes in our region are for developments to be ‘brownfield first’ and then also affordable to the people who live in those areas.
“The development in Coventry ticks both of those boxes and is an example of the great progress we are making regionally to meet the housing challenge.
“It was fascinating to speak with Peter Deeley and hear about the extensive work the company has done in this area of Coventry over the last 85 years and the strong relationship they have with the community here.
“I congratulate the Deeley Group and Stonewater for bringing this project to fruition and look forward to seeing it at its completion and serving the local community.”
Deeley Group has a history of development in the area, building St John Fisher Catholic Primary school in the 1950s and St John Fisher Church and Hall in the 1970s.
Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, added: “We are giving this redundant brownfield site a new life and helping to provide crucial new housing for people in the locality too.
“It was a pleasure to welcome Andy to Tiverton Road to discuss our plans for the site and how that will support his housing programme across the West Midlands.
“We are working closely with Stonewater to deliver the development and hope Andy will return to visit when the project is completed.”
Matt Crucefix, director of development (South and West) at Stonewater, said: “There is a genuine need for more housing of this type in Coventry and it has been a pleasure working with the Deeley Group to bring this scheme to life.
“With every new development, we look for ways to invest in the local economy – by working with local contractors and suppliers – to ensure we add as much value to the community as possible.
“We’re delighted to hear Andy is pleased with the progress of this site so far and look forward to welcoming him to the completed scheme along with our new residents, later this year.”
PICTURE CAPTION: Andy Street and Peter Deeley.