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National Skills Academy for Construction in the North West drives ‘employer-led’ approach to construction training

Training goes mobile and on-site to put construction employers right at the heart of training…

A new, site-based approach to construction training began in the North West on the 9th March, with the launch of a new National Skills Academy for Construction site at Newall Green High School in Wythenshawe, attended by Paul Goggins MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East.

Leaving the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ model of an educational establishment behind, the launch of an Academy site at Newall Green is the start of an innovative ‘employer-led’ approach to construction training. By 2010 more than 30 National Skills Academy for Construction projects, supported by a fleet of mobile training centres, will be established on-site at major construction projects throughout the UK.

Developed with support from ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry, together with leading industry employers and education and training providers, the Construction Academy is part of the National Skills Academy programme, a Department for Education and Skills initiative designed to drive up the standard of industry training and to improve productivity and tackle skills shortages across the UK. The National Skills Academy for Construction aims to create at least 10,000 jobs via apprenticeships, and to help 100,000 experienced workers gain NVQ Levels 2 or 3.

With high profile projects in the North West such as Manchester City Council’s Education Framework, Birse Coastal Defences in Lancashire, the redevelopment of Central Manchester hospitals, Construction for Merseyside/Heartlands Housing Market Renewal, and Keepmoat’s regeneration and infrastructure work in East Lancashire to deliver, construction employers are looking for a simple and streamlined approach to skills training. The National Skills Academy for Construction is key to meeting the unprecedented demand facing the UK construction industry.

The National Skills Academy for Construction will play a key role in putting employers in the driving seat when it comes to deciding where the skills gaps are in their sector and in the North West area and how best to close them.

Paul Goggins MP said: "The National Skills Academy for Construction will help to develop on-the-job on-site training, and it will help to ensure that building projects leave a legacy of skills for the future. With business and Government in partnership we can raise skills levels across the economy, sector by sector, ensuring we can compete effectively in a rapidly changing globalised economy."

Skills Minister Phil Hope said: "Raising skills is essential for our country.  That is why we are putting employers at the heart of the National Skills Academy programme - working in partnership we will have a more highly trained and highly motivated work force for the future.  I am delighted that the new National Skills Academy for Construction will be leading the way in the North West." 

As the National Skills Academy for Construction expands, regional partnerships will be established in all nine English regions, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland across a range of construction projects such as major regeneration and development projects, refurbishment and maintenance projects, civil engineering and housebuilding.

Mike Bialyj, Field Director, ConstructionSkills says: “The National Skills Academy for Construction is giving industry the training and support that it needs, where it needs it. The new mobile network will enable training on-site to cover the entire supply chain for each project. We see it as a ‘win-win’ situation, not only is it an opportunity to skill up local people for the construction industry, it is also a way of developing sustainable communities.”

The Newall Green High School site is part of Manchester City Council’s £160 million “Building Schools for the Future” programme, and has the key involvement of Balfour Beatty, Manchester College of Arts and Technology and ConstructionSkills.

Tony Ellender, Training Manager, Balfour Beatty Construction says: "By its very nature construction tends to be a hugely fragmented industry. The only place that everyone comes together is on a live construction site, so the fact that training will be focused on-site is very significant. Employer-led training is the only way to get it right and I believe that the National Skills Academy network truly recognises this."

For further information about the National Skills Academy for Construction go to

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