Chairman’s Introduction

Welcome.  I am Managing Director of Gelder Joinery Limited, Kidlington. I started work in the mid 1960s as an Apprentice Wood Machinist for Harris and Moulder (Church Furnishers), Pony Road, Oxford at the impressionable age of 15. My apprenticeship was for 5 years, with 2 years as an Improver. “My word, how things have changed". In 1972, I moved employment to Johnsons Timber Merchants, initially working in the mills as a leading Spindle Hand. I was very fortunate to be selected for its management programme, leading to a promotion as Mill Foreman. This opportunity taught me so much about people and life in general. Then moving to manage the Saw Doctor’s shop was another fine opening that clearly helped develop my management techniques and business knowledge. In 1978, I found myself being drawn towards starting my own company. This has led to where I am most proud to be today, in the privileged position of being elected Chairman by my industry contemporaries within this highly regarded Independent Construction Training Group. Since 1978 we, as a business, have introduced some 12 Apprentices to the Architectural Joinery trade, many of whom have gone on to be successful in their own right - one Gold medallist, one Silver medallist in the all-England Skill Build competition, both of whom are still working for the firm. Suffice to say, I have an unbridled passion for training and development at all levels, which makes a business stronger in such a highly competitive market.

The Oxford Construction Training Group is one of some 80+ Independent Training Groups nationwide. Its primary function is to promote and facilitate quality cost effective training solutions across the entire construction industry from a local perspective, which also happens to include parts of Buckinghamshire and Wiltshire. By assisting its Members to find training that suits their business and personal needs, whether it be the basics of Health & Safety or the development of those aspiring to managerial/supervisory roles. It is also a reliable voice of the industry, providing a forum for discussion and networking that is intended to work to everyone’s advantage. The Group is ably assisted in this regard by our very own experienced Training Officer, David Holbrook, whose wealth of experience goes before him across the construction training and business improvement world.

Partly funded by the Sector Skills Council for the industry (the CITB), with whom we have meaningful ongoing dialogue, this enables the Group to assist its Members in the securing of modern-day skills and support of a range of diverse funding opportunities.

It has always been my goal to train, whether it is a school leaver or mature adult wishing to make a change in his or her career. Providing focused training, gives so much satisfaction to the organisation and the trainer, knowing they have successfully shared their knowledge and skills with someone else with such a positive outcome to enjoy.

Investment in training should all be about fulfilment for the individual, the community, the nation, and, indeed, the world as a whole. There is absolutely no doubting that the improved methods of approach to such learning and its resulting delivery over the last few years, has made a high risk industry a much safer place to work in.

With the lack of skills becoming more than evident across the vast array of construction trades, it is now even more important to train, retain and provide a reliable platform for continuing professional development for those who may already enjoy a high level of skill. This will undoubtedly make our trades even more respected than they already are, plus encourage even more people to join our wonderfully creative sector, where ‘the sky is, very much, the limit’. We look forward to you investigating further, either as an employer or someone keen to consider the many unrivalled opportunities that actually exist.

Bryan Gelder
September 2021

“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay”.

Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company

Bryan Gelder