From education to employment


An innovative scheme spearheaded by Leeds College of Building has already enabled more than 29 unemployed and disadvantaged people from Yorkshire to pursue a career in the construction industry and over 100 more people are now hoping to start work as a result of the programme. 

The ‘Step Up Into Construction’ initiative has been led by Leeds College of Building over the last 12 months and funded by the European Social Fund and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).  The strategic partnership also included a wide range of leading Yorkshire based education providers, local councils, housing associations, social enterprise groups, careers advisors, training boards and public sector and government departments, many of which recently attended an event at Leeds City Museum to celebrate the completion of the Step Up Into Construction programme.

Project highlights included attracting more than 639 participants onto the programme, which included 117% of its ‘unemployed’ target and 104% of its ‘inactive’ target.  It also significantly exceeded targets for those aged over 50, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.  Many participants had a lack of basic skills, no formal qualifications and limited employability skills.

Ian Billyard, Principal at Leeds College of Building, which is the UK’s only specialist further education construction college, says: “Leeds College of Building is proud to have worked on this innovative scheme over the last 12 months.  Throughout the project we’ve focussed on engaging with people wanting to get into construction and provided them with the right guidance and contacts for specific education courses and work experience placements. 

“It’s been hugely successful and supported so many people as they’ve progressed into employment and training, as well as helping to develop the employability skills for many others, which will stand them in good stead as they enter the job market.” 

Ashfaq Gulab, Step Up Into Construction’s Project Manager, said: “We are pleased to report on behalf of the steering group, chaired by Leeds College of Building’s Deputy Principal Derek Whitehead, that the project has made excellent progress in achieving eight out of ten key reporting indicator targets.”

Jeremy Wright from CITB commented: “The Step Up Into Construction project has highlighted that the construction industry is a fantastic place to work and build a long lasting career. It has showcased that opportunities are available to all and made it easy for participants to get involved.  CITB would like to thank all of the partners involved in the project for their commitment, support and tenacity.”

Leeds-based Morgan Sindall is one of many local employers to support Step Up Into Construction with site visits and work placements. Community Engagement Officer Sarah Muscas said: “Morgan Sindall works hard to address the needs of our local communities and if we can help new recruits enter the industry by opening up our sites to programmes like Step Up Into Construction then we will always do that.”

Leeds College of Building offers more than 200 courses across a huge range of disciplines, and has built a reputation for first-class education and training.  The College is an approved Apprenticeship Levy provider and offers a wide range of Apprenticeships in traditional trades and technical Apprenticeship routes, together with two Higher Level Apprenticeships in Construction Management (Sustainability) covering four Pathways (Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying, Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering) and Facilities Management which offer university equivalent work based education.

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