By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East
Last month, the government announced a £22m fund to bring training to construction sites, allowing learners to apply their knowledge in a real workplace, and helping their transition into their new career. The fund is designed to meet the needs of employers and people seeking to join the construction industry, particularly adult learners. Finally, a step in the right direction towards fixing the skills shortage we’ve struggled with for such a long time.
The fund and 158,000 new construction jobs expected to be created in the UK over the next five years was announced by Skills minister, Anne Milton after being first revealed by Philip Hammond in his Spring Statement. The money will support the development of 20 on-site hubs to train more people and help deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. On-site training will be hugely valuable for employers and trainees. It will attract new talent and help bridge the gap between training and working in the industry, meaning trainees are site-ready sooner. The 18-month scheme is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and will be administered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
The fund also aims to support:
- Work experience and placements for people working to join the industry
- Entry pathways for those currently unemployed
- Pathways for career switchers.
The good thing about the fund is that it’s not just about school-leavers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for training young people and making a career in the industry an option for school leavers but I like that this is also for adults, particularly those who want to retrain if they have been unemployed or want to switch careers. This is for everyone – a well-supported working environment.
The government’s industrial strategy has one main aim: making sure that people have the skills they need to get a job, make a living and get on in life. These skills are ones that employers and the economy needs to thrive, and if we get that right we can build a better Britain.
The CITB is now calling on employers, housing associations and other interested bodies such as Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities to submit expressions of interest. These can be from both existing and prospective on-site learning hubs. The funding will only support on-site training provision and access to live construction projects is essential to qualify. An Expression of Interest should consider partnership working with a priority focus on home-building and infrastructure projects. This process should identify how organisations such as employers, local authorities, FE providers and housing associations can collaborate to make the training hubs happen. CITB will work with interested parties to prepare them for the streamlined application process which will open in the coming weeks.
To enter a submission or to find out more information visit www.citb.co.uk/csf