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House Building Skills – Are Training Colleges Fit for the Future?

March 8, 2016

The government is pledging to increase housing construction in the coming years, but there’s an urgent need to offer more construction skills training to meet this demand.

You’ve no doubt heard about the government’s recent pledge to invest an extra £7 billion into housing, with 400,000 new homes expected by 2020.

With this increasing demand for construction and innovation, there’s an added pressure on the skills we have here in the UK.

Having so much business that you need to hire more staff is a great position to be in. It’s looking to stay that way for quite some time, with the government forecasting more than 70% industry growth by 2025.

However, if nothing is done about it, industry experts believe a construction skills shortage is likely to hinder industry growth:

‘To deliver on the government’s ambitions for 400,000 affordable new homes, government and industry need to come together to tackle the skills shortage in construction.’ Matt Pullen, Managing Director, AkzoNobel UK.

So there’s an increased focus on construction skills training, both to upskill current employees and to train the next generation of workers coming through.

Today’s training colleges are playing their part in equipping students with the most relevant skills to ensure employers will get the most out of the future workforce.

TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION WILL BRIDGE THE GAP

Students need training in real life construction skills and innovative technologies if they’re to be a valuable asset in the world of employment.

In order to really thrive in the coming years, we must invest now in the next generation of construction workers.

In the shorter term, this can mean recruiting from other industries to fill the skills gap. Longer term, it requires attracting and training a diverse range of people from all backgrounds.

This will be an ongoing process. As new waves of employees come through, there’ll be a continuing need to encourage people into construction skills training to increase participation in our thriving industry.

Already, collaborative initiatives between the construction industry and educational facilities mean that we’re training the next generation to use new smart tools and systems.

For example, the government-backed apprenticeship scheme, Catapult, is helping to bridge the gap between business and academia. Meanwhile, colleges and training facilities are promoting job-site experience and apprenticeships, so students are ready to apply their training to the real world.
If we need to train growing numbers of workers, do we have enough facilities?

THE NEW TRAINING FACILITIES

At Buckinghamshire University Technical College students from age of 14 can learn all elements of the construction trade, alongside their other academic subjects.

The college is working with employers, including Taylor Wimpey, to shape the curriculum. This ensures employers are able to find students with the right construction skills training. It also benefits the students, by ensuring they have work available when they finish college.

Still, one college isn’t enough; training all the new employees needed by the industry is going to require more facilities. So aside from the work already being done to fill the construction skills shortage, there’s a new wave of initiatives across the country to train and promote even more talent.

A £9 million facility for trainee carpenters, builders, electricians and plumbers, is to be built at City College Brighton. This Construction and Trades Centre will give students the chance to work alongside their peers in other trades, just as they would on a construction site.

North Liverpool Community College received a grant to undergo refurbishment. It will offer young people who are underachieving or at risk of exclusion from school the chance to train in plumbing, tiling and plastering. Plus, the college is collaborating with local employers to offer students apprenticeships and employment in the future.

In Warndon, Worcester a brand new £300,000 facility, The Building Block, has recently opened. It aims to improve employment skills, and provide construction skills training and qualification by offering a range of courses.

The future looks bright for the construction industry, despite commentators who indicate the contrary. Continued collaboration between employers and new training facilities will play an important role in closing the skills gap, helping the industry make the most of the increased demand for housing construction.
TAKEWAYS:

There’s an increased demand for new housing, but supply could be hampered by a construction skills shortage.

To cope with the increasing need for specialist construction skills, training facilities are opening across the country.

Collaboration between the construction industry and educational facilities helps equip the future workforce with the most relevant and up-to-date skills.

Find out how recent stamp duty changes affect demand for housing in your area.

Regional Housing Markets in 2016: the Impact of Stamp Duty Changes


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