Welcome to Building Lives

Building Lives is an award winning Community Interest Company and registered Social Enterprise.









Our vision is to build lives for everyone

We do this by

Empowering communities through opportunity

Creating jobs for no profit

Developing productive partnerships

Our values are

We welcome everyone

We are passionate about everything we do

We are committed and we persevere 


How it started 

Building Lives was established by Steve Rawlings, the founder of a successful construction company. Steve grew up in the East End and started as an Apprentice Roofer himself, 40 years ago. After discovering that 47% of people living in social housing were three generations unemployed, Steve decided he wanted to give something back. So in 2010, in partnership with a social landlord, college and homeless persons charity, the first Building Lives Academy opened its doors in Camden.


The first Academy proved very successful and we realised we had a model that really was helping to build the lives of lots of people. So we set about developing more partnerships and establishing more Academies. There are now nine Building Lives Academies across London.


Each Academy is a unique and important collaboration of partners from various sectors. Partnerships are the backbone of Building Lives and we recognise we can't do any of this alone. The huge team effort, is integral to the success of Building Lives.


Although we are a Social Enterprise, Steve (our CEO) comes from a commercial background and has a great track record of running a successful company. Steve has applied this expertise to develop a sustainable Social Enterprise.


We currently have Building Lives Academies in these areas, with these partners:


CAMDEN - Camden Council, One Housing Group, Ealing Hammersmith and West London College, Broadway, Lakehouse, plus a range of subcontractors

SUTTON - Sutton Council, Sutton Housing Partnership, The Power Centre - Carshalton College, Affinity Sutton, Mulalley, Lakehouse, plus a range of subcontractors

HACKNEY - Hackney Homes, Harrow College, Manor House Development Trust, Mansell, Mulalley, Lakehouse, plus a range of subcontractors

SOUTHWARK KEY STAGE 4 - Thames Reach, Walworth Academy, Globe Academy, Evelyn Grace Academy

TOWER HAMLETS  Poplar HARCA, Swan Housing, Harrow College, Berkeley Group & Willmott Dixon

HARINGEY  Homes for Haringey, Haringey Council, Harrow College, Keepmoat & Mulalley

RICHMOND  Richmond Housing Partnership & Harrow College 

SOUTHWARK  Peabody, Barking and Dagenham College

LEWISHAM  Lewisham Council, Phoenix Community Housing & Barking and Dagenham College



2015 is going to be a really exciting time for Building Lives and will bring more growth - we already have a waiting list for 10 new academies across London.



We aim to open a Building Lives Training Academy in every London borough and beyond, helping build the lives of as many people as possible.




10% of Building Lives apprentices on site are women –  industry average is just 1%

80% of apprentices complete their 16 month multi-skilled paid apprenticeships and gain an NVQ Level 2 in Maintenance Operations

86% of apprentices  go on to sustain employment after they have completed their apprenticeships – often taken on by the sub-contractors they worked with during their course

The maximum caseload is25 apprentices for each Apprentice Officer - they see their apprentices weekly at the Academy and visit them on site regularly

We havea 100% recommendation rate from our apprentices

We’re not training for qualifications, we’re training for jobs - by 2017 we will be delivering 1000 apprenticeships a year.


70% of the people we work with are NEETs (young people not in training or education)


40% of our apprentices are ex-offenders and 30% are homeless


50% of apprentices are black, asian and ethnic minority