Supporting our workforce

Employee responsibility

Our approach: We aim to provide a positive work environment for all our staff, whether they work in factories, warehouses, depots or offices. Our culture emphasises the importance of individual accountability, which means the personal responsibility of each of us towards those we work with every day. We are proud of this culture, which encourages openness and transparency within the business and has been vital to its growth and development since 1995.


Howden Joinery’s heritage and culture means we place a high value on the whole range of skills – technical, commercial and interpersonal – that are practised by local tradespeople. We are keen to promote the use of these skills in the workplace and interest in them in the wider community.

Employee training at Howdens

Our staff have also benefited from our investment in internal courses, with over 181,649 training hours completed during the year. Courses are offered in subjects ranging from HR skills to manual handling, from diversity and inclusion to health and safety, from environmental awareness to LGV and fork-lift truck driving. We plan to continue to invest in training and development in 2015 as well as maintain a strong in-house delivery capability as we continue to encourage staff to achieve training qualifications themselves.

Developing apprentices in-house

During 2014, the Group employed 10 modern apprentices in our Supply division, all of which are apprenticed in engineering. We introduced a Manufacturing Operations apprenticeship programme in order to develop multi-skilled machine operators with the potential of promotion into future leadership roles. We also employed 270 modern apprentices within the depot network practising a broad range of skills.

Pioneering bursary scheme for apprentice joiners

As well as helping promote the value of apprenticeships in-house, we also continue to help the next generation of builders and joiners by supporting apprentices in the wider community. In partnership with CITB (the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry), we continue to offer the Howden Joinery Bursary for new apprentice joiners and, during 2014, we agreed to extend the funding to accommodate a further 20 places. The scheme was the first of its kind in the country and, other than stipulating that the money be used specifically to fund apprentice joiners, Howdens has no involvement in choosing either the apprentices or the companies involved.