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I have been more than interested in training others in the production of Visual Concrete Remedial works for quite some time. Having clearly identified the advantages this has to large-scale long-term projects, I am finally getting to see the fruit of this planning...

GreyMatter has been contracted on a significant project in Central London with a major UK Engineering Contractor. We are Managing, Training, Overseeing and Delivering key visual elements of this project using site operatives (with no previous experience) in producing visual concrete repair work.

The key to the success of this project has been, and will continue to be, driving a ‘no risk strategy’ to all remedial works on visual elements. Removing risk is our job which means keeping a tight reign on quality ensuring smooth handover. It is fundamental to close the circle from Management to Delivery with all the controlled remedial works being squeezed inside. Nothing that is offered up for inspection to the Client will bypass our scrutiny and nothing will fall below the already agreed benchmark.

Many years ago I started to focus on what I term as ‘Categories of Repair’. There aren’t many that exist and they are generally repeated throughout a project with convenient consistency. This offers a huge advantage to large or medium scale projects as far as training is concerned. Once a trainee becomes familiar and confident with each type of repair and their role in advancing that repair, repetition affords consistency, quality and efficiency. It doesn’t take very long to get there either once roles and responsibilities are divided up according to individual skills sets.

Each step in any remedial work can be broken down into manageable bite-sized, easily digested portions and no previous experience is required. In fact, it is easier to teach the unexperienced rather than undo previous experiences that may use the same tool in a different way. This is potentially an attractive proposition for all concerned. The Contractor can employ an unskilled person for lower more efficient cost. The Trainee gains a real skill, becoming an asset to the project and also to themselves.

I have spent much time approaching the CITB and the Government Skills Funding Agency looking for Apprentices with very limited success. I have now found a proactive ear, vision and interest in investing in on-site training management and delivery with a forward looking major player in the industry.

It is my aim that they should benefit from this shared vision ultimately to be reflected in the quality of the concrete produced. In time, no doubt, the fruits of this labour will be seen by many people in London on a day today basis.

Ideas and opportunities are out there waiting to be found.

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