In this first blog from Commercial Director Douglas Smith MRICS, he talks about McGill’s commitment to delivering social value, and why it’s important to focus on doing good in the local community. Come back monthly for more of Doug’s experienced and visionary take on the latest issues in the construction industry …

If you follow McGill, you might have noticed that we’ve kicked things up a gear lately. We’ve expanded our ambitions; we’re winning bigger and more ambitious contracts than ever, we’ve got plans to expand our footprint further, and we have set our sights on achieving huge sustainable growth over the next 3-5 years. Or, if you’re not too familiar with the new McGill, you can find out more in our Capability Document.

However, there’s something that’s never been more important to us even though we’re in a phase of expansion and ambitious growth: being of real social value and delivering on our ongoing commitment to the local community. At McGill, that can mean many different things.

For example, our apprenticeship programme has always been highly sought after – that’s why we have school leavers contacting McGill every week of the year looking to start an apprenticeship with us. They know the McGill name, they’ve seen some of the local projects we’ve been involved in, and they’ve heard from their friends that it’s a great company to be part of. Our goal is to bring in young people, and give them not just a trade, but a career they can build over the decades, alongside an employer they’ll want to stick with forever. We want these young people to be the leaders of McGill in the future, so we’re committed to their ongoing education and development.

Employing locally is another way to measure our social value. We’re actually quite unusual for a main contractor, because we directly employ all trades instead of outsourcing to subcontractors wherever possible. That matters to us: it means we’re bringing steady, well-paid work (yes, we’re proud Living Wage employers too) to the local community. In turn, people with a good steady income invest in their community too, spending their hard-earned money in the area and keeping the local economy going. This is real boots-on-the-ground injecting money into the local community stuff: it’s measurable social value demonstrated by the fact that 90% of our workforce is drawn from the local areas.

We recently completed a huge refurbishment project at Lochee United’s home ground Thomson Park. With an investment of around £100,000 they’re now firmly on the path to success with a ground to be proud of, and we’re not stopping there. We’ll support this local side for years to come – and with the McGill community behind them all the way, we say look out Dundee FC and Dundee United, there’s a new team in town!

We’re also working on a long-term zero-carbon strategy as we want to take a leading role in how the local community responds to climate change; we’ve started close to home, and have a wind turbine generating power for our site, are doubling our fleet of electric vehicles this year, and are gearing up to install solar panels. Our Eco Division has also been at the forefront of renewables, for example with Dundee Science Centre. That’s delivering real social value too.

There’s definitely a balance to be found: yes, McGill is looking at a bright future as a nationwide contractor, and our goal is to win ambitious contracts that will take us far and wide. However, we’ll never lose sight of how important it is to play an active role in our home, the local community we’ve been part of for four decades. We’ll keep backing you, because you’ve never stopped backing us.