Skills Minister visits London South East Colleges

Skills Minister Gillian Keegan MP (@GillianKeegan), has visited London South East Colleges’ (@LSEColleges) Bromley campus for the launch of a construction skills report, commissioned in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Further Education (@FEcharter) and property company, St. Modwen. 

The research identifies areas in which the FE sector, government and construction industry can improve integrated working to secure the skills the industry needs now and in the future.  It is part of St. Modwen’s ‘project spearhead’ - a coordinated approach by the company to practically address the skills shortages that are impacting the housebuilding sector.  

The report makes recommendations including: better collaboration between FE and employers, improved information, advice and guidance in schools and attracting and retaining high calibre staff to deliver construction training in colleges.  

The Chartered Institution for Further Education (CIFE) represents best practice within the FE sector, has a membership of leading Further Education providers and as a ‘Chartered Institution’, has significant currency in the construction industry and wider private sector – making it an ideal partner for St Modwen to undertake this research. 

The report was launched during a visit by the Skills Minister to London South East Colleges, a leading provider of construction training in the region. The Minister toured the College’s workshops, met with staff and students and talked to employer partners.  

Attending the socially-distanced event in person, Chair of the CIFE, Lord Lingfield, said:  

“I am delighted to be launching this important research and beginning a system-wide conversation on how all of us in Further Education can work collaboratively to meet the current and future skills needs of the Construction sector. 

“I am particularly grateful to Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeship and Skills for her support of this significant initiative.   

“The role of Further Education is pivotal in our country’s future growth.  The challenges of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic to the UK make it vital that there is no shortage of skilled professional people able to deliver the productivity that will be needed.  

“The Chartered Institution for Further Education is absolutely committed to furthering partnerships between Britain’s industries and the FE sector and it has been a pleasure to work with the Construction industry on this substantial review and the challenges that it brings to light.”  

Danuta Gray, Chair of St. Modwen, commented: 

“The UK needs tens of thousands of new homes each year so collaboration between industry, education and government has never been more important. As we emerge from COVID-19 , we must see this a chance to not just boost skills and improve entry routes to the sector but make the industry attractive as a career for young people.   

“St. Modwen has made Education and Future Skills one of our continued priorities and recent practical steps to help colleges including advising on curriculum development and running fast-track apprenticeship schemes. We, like everyone, must go further, by creating new jobs, enticing young people and creating a modern sector where everyone can thrive.” 

Taking the Skills Minister on a tour of the College and its construction provision, Principal and CEO of London South East Colleges, Dr Sam Parrett OBE, said:   

“This is an important report, setting out clear recommendations to secure the skills requirements of the construction industry going forward.   

“We have been working in partnership with construction employers for some time and understand the need for genuine collaboration. There are so many exciting career opportunities available in this sector, which will be crucial as the economy recovers post-Covid.    

“We have been delighted to showcase our provision to the Skills Minister today and look forward to strengthening this further as we continue to work with our industry partners and helping to meet their skills needs now and in the future.”  

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