From education to employment

Six months in to the nationwide £22m Construction Skills Fund project

Trainee will ‘never look back’ from joining the construction industry through Construction Skills Fund.

Six months into the nationwide Construction Skills Fund (CSF) project, 1275 trainees have become site-ready to join the industry after completing their training at 20 new onsite hubs. Over 42% of learners have received job offers from local construction employers, surpassing the project’s target of 30%.

Many of those who have received job offers were previously unemployed or come from underrepresented groups, helping to close the skills shortage and provide new skills and ideas to the industry.

One trainee, Davey Allen, a 23 year old ex-mechanic from Sheffield, describes how he will ‘never look back’ now he has joined the construction industry through the CSF scheme. He is now working as an on-site labourer for City & County Property Maintenance and is looking forward to using his new found skills both in his new career and his home life.

Delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the £22m CSF is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) with the aim of training more than 13,000 people to be ready for employment in construction by March 2020. 

Following the CSF’s launch in October 2018, the number of learners considered employment and site ready by construction employers is now ahead of target, along with the percentage who have obtained an offer for a job with sustained employment or engagement. Some 721 learners come from non-traditional entry routes or groups currently underrepresented in construction – this is 57% of all learners, above a target of 45%.

The CSF also aims to provide opportunities to those in other careers, or roles where there is a high risk of job automation in the future, helping them to retrain and enhance their future career prospects. The project has now worked with 459 career changers, many of whom are at risk of automation, or 36% of the total, surpassing its target of 15%.

One of the new CSF hubs is The Building Block, coordinated by Sheffield City Council and with partners including Engie and Keepmoat, to help train the workforce it needs to construct 10,000 new homes. The £715k CSF investment gives local people with no previous construction experience the chance to become involved in various construction trades.

Following a two week programme where they benefit from learning a variety of key skills, learners gain invaluable work experience at one of the city’s housing development sites. From here, successful candidates have the opportunity to gain long term employment. So far, of the 25 learners who have moved into employment, 23 are from underrepresented groups. The scheme has provided a massive boost to the local area and the house-building targets there.

Steve Radley, Policy Director of the Construction Industry Training Board, said: “Congratulations to all those learners who have obtained new skills and employment as a result of their hard work and with the support of the CSF.

“With 158,000 new skilled construction workers required by 2022, the CSF hubs offer a new and innovative route into construction and a major training boost for local projects. These early figures show a strong performance, thanks to real partnership between sites, employers and learners. We are looking forward to building on this excellent start, to help people from all walks of life get the skills they need to join our industry.”

The £22m Construction Skills Fund has been created as part of the Government’s National Retraining Scheme to support innovative ways of training new entrants and retaining adults in the construction sector. The on-site hubs provide life-changing opportunities to start a career in construction, with particular focus on the long-term unemployed, career changers and unrepresented groups.

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