Welcome to Building Lives

Building Lives is an award winning Social Enterprise and registered charity.









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 


About Us  

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 ten 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.


Building Lives is now an award winning Community Interest Company and registered Social Enterprise that has brought together former competitors from across the housing and construction sectors to build lives of Londoners. Together we are helping hundreds of people into sustainable construction careers across London - whilst plugging a looming skills shortage in the construction industry that we all know and love.


We partner with construction firms, social landlords and colleges to transform unloved, disused community spaces into bespoke construction training academies. Together we are helping hundreds of people a year secure paid apprenticeships whilst taking steps to reduce unemployment and meet the skill requirements of the future. Since inception, we have established 10 training academies areas across London within the heart of deprived communities.

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


CAMDEN: Camden Council, Ealing Hammersmith & West London College plus a range of subcontractors.

ARLINGTON: One Housing Group plus a range of subcontractors.

SUTTON: Sutton Council, Sutton Housing Partnership, Carshalton College & Affinity Sutton 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 & LandAid.

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




Building Lives will soon be dominating the Construction Apprenticeship market in London, plans to open another 12 academies over the next 2 years means by 2017 we will have 22 training academies in deprived areas across London delivering training to 1798 Londoners a year. With a track record of one in two people we work with going into construction jobs we will be delivering approximately 800 actual jobs a year within that time.



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