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Reflecting on Skilled Labour Services’ first decade

Is it just us, or are you also feeling a bit windswept by the turbulence of 2021 that, despite challenges, seems to have passed at breakneck speed?


When times are challenging, it can be easy to overlook the stuff that’s gone well. Yet, reflection is every bit as important as planning for the future. With that in mind, we thought we’d share a few of our highlights from 2021.

Celebrating a decade of serving our clients


We started the year celebrating the landmark of 10 years in business – 10 years which has seen us grow, endure the economic ups and downs of the construction industry during a recession, continue to supply labour through a pandemic and so much more. 


Skilled Labour Services was founded in 2011 by owner and Managing Director, Richard Allen. When he started the business, Richard had almost two decades of experience behind him in site and contract management for some of the industry’s biggest names. 


During that chapter of his career, his greatest consistent frustration was the challenge of sourcing good quality, skilled labour for his projects. Asking himself, “Can it really be that hard?” Richard took the plunge and the rest – as they say – is history.


In the years that have followed, Skilled Labour Services has built a well-deserved reputation as a trusted supplier to the construction industry. One thing’s for certain – our first decade in business was anything but dull – and this last year is possibly one of our most exciting so far.

Learning, Growing & Developing


Like many other businesses, the bounce back from the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has included a period of change. 


After the initial lockdowns, the construction industry enjoyed a boom of activity with pressure to get projects back on track. But before long the wider implications of the lockdowns were being felt.


Materials were in short supply, the supply chain was weakened and labour shortages were headline news. We had a steep learning curve ahead of us and mistakes were made. However, as the saying goes FAIL is simply an acronym for first attempt in learning – so we learned from those mistakes, adapted and have moved forward, stronger for the experiences. 


In addition to rebuilding our labour resources, our operations team has grown and we have been delighted to welcome both Brodie to the recruitment team, and Karen to payroll. Meanwhile, Liane has taken up the mantle of full-time business development manager.


This new structure has strengthened how the business operates, increasing the value we offer our clients. 


But it’s not just our team that has grown..


We have welcomed new clients to the SLS family and seized new opportunities whilst continuing to take good care of our long-standing relationships – some of whom have been with us since day 1.


With our growth came the need to increase our vehicle fleet, which saw us add 3 new vans to increase our fleet to 15 in order to ensure that our teams could get to site and our clients received the reliability we are known for.  



Director Richard Allen

It’s not without a glow of pride that we can say we have been able to meet the demands for labour even during severe skills shortages across our industry. 


At this point it is important to send our thanks to all our staff and  clients who have supported us throughout this year; 2021 has been a real team effort!

Launching ‘Stronger Together at London Build


In case you missed it, not only was London Build back this year after the 2020 hiatus – but we exhibited there too!


It was our first time as exhibitors and we took the opportunity to launch our mission for 2022 – ‘Stronger Together’ (although the strapline will probably stay with us as it’s such a powerful message).


Exhibitions like this are a valuable opportunity to understand, first hand, the issues affecting the wider industry from people we wouldn’t usually speak to, and in a way the mainstream and trade media can’t always convey.


In addition to seeing old faces and meeting new people at London Build, we kick-started our fundraising for the industry charity The Lighthouse Club. You can read more about our experience of London Build here.

Running into our Second Decade


Managing Director Rich Allen is on track to complete his 50th marathon at the 2022 London Marathon and is in training to ensure he’s in peak condition for race day. And the rest of the team are also working hard to keep SLS in peak condition so that we can continue to look after our clients whilst embracing new opportunities. 


As an industry, construction is facing a crisis point in the not too distant future due to an ageing workforce and low numbers of young people choosing to join the industry in the various trades and professions. As an industry, we need to push the change agenda in order to make construction an inspiring career choice where people are looked after and supported; empowered to contribute to a more sustainable built environment; and encouraging even greater diversity in our workforce. 


If you’d like to find out more about working with us and supporting our mission to create positive change in the industry, contact the team on 02392 652138

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