In the construction industry there are many standards that need to be met. Train for Trades works hard to ensure that the work that is done by the youth is of high quality so that it can pass all of the city inspections. Just because the work is being carried out by youth does not mean that there is any leniency given when it comes to codes and inspections. The work must be the same quality as any mainstream construction company.
Train for Trades also wants repeat business, thus it must deliver a quality product for the various employers it works with. Construction companies thrive on repeat business and word of mouth referrals. Despite being a social enterprise, T4T wants to do quality work to meet the expectations of the people and organizations that contract it.
T4T also continually meets the requirements for the Certificate of Recognition™, which is a provincial safety standard that allows it to bid on government contracts. This will be discussed in more detail in the Safety section.
“Like any business, if we don’t do good quality work and we don’t do it on time, don’t do it on budget, don’t do it on code…Every single unit of energy retrofit that we do, there’s 60 of them annually - that’s sixty inspections and somewhere around maybe three or four inspections per retrofit. That’s a lot of inspections. [We] don’t get any special lenience from [the city inspectors] around the work because we’re a social enterprise, non-profit, working with at-risk young people. We have to meet every code that the city has around our work. That’s been the deliverable for us - doing good-quality work so that we actually are seen as, ‘Wow, these are people we want to hire because they do good work, and you know what, I can also feel good about it because they’re also training and employing young people.’” — Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director, Choices for Youth
Homeless Hub Thoughts:
Organizations need to ensure they are aware of all health and safety standards related to the appropriate industries and that they do quality work that meets or exceeds these standards. While with Train for Trades this involves construction standards, a cooking program might need to meet food handling requirements. Meeting Human Resource requirements, proper financial management and general employer-employee obligations are also important.
Standards can also be understood more broadly to refer to the need to meet consumer expectations. A social enterprise will not succeed if it creates a bad product or has lousy customer service. It must meet deadlines in order to please its customer base. While consumers might go to a social enterprise once just on the merits of being a social enterprise, they will not return if they are not getting value for their money.