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ConstructionSkills partners with the London Development Agency and the Olympic Delivery Authority

It has been a busy couple of months for the National Construction College (NCC) – with the signing of a lease for a new NCC site in Newham, East London.

Work is now underway on the refurbishment of the building, which will become a National Skills Academy for Construction regional hub. The Newham centre will offer courses in much-needed trades including plant maintenance, construction operations, dry-lining, roofing and highways maintenance. To set up the new facility NCC – which is part of ConstructionSkills – worked in partnership with the London Development Agency and the Olympic Delivery Authority, and the development was part funded by the Learning Skills Council and Newham Borough Council.

"The Construction Skills Network data for the London region clearly shows a requirement to provide more training in the specialist occupations,” commented Andy Walder, Director of the National Construction College. “We’re committed to delivering training based on employer requirements and we’ve been working very closely with contractors to ensure that we provide what they need, when and where they need it.”

The Newham centre will build on the success of the Eton Manor Plant Training Centre in East London, in delivering specialist training provision. Since Eton Manor was launched in February 2008, 280 trainees have undertaken Plant Operative training courses with a pass rate of 83%. Almost three quarters of trainees (204) are now working in jobs on the Olympic site – providing vital skills for the project. Eton Manor is also helping the project to meet its diversity targets – around 40% of trainees are from ethnic backgrounds and 19 female candidates have successfully completed training courses.

The Newham centre began training people at the end of November but the centre will be officially launched early in 2009.

Jeremy Galpin, Group Skills and Development Manager for Costain who was recently appointed chair of National Construction Skills Academy group said: “There are some types of hands-on training, such as heavy plant operations, for example, that cannot be carried out on site.

“However, you don’t really want to send trainees to the other end of the country for a five-day course – so access to a regional training hub gives the trainee the right facilities to gain experience, while limiting their time away from the project.

“It also hugely reduces the carbon footprint of the training because it’s being done locally.

“Essentially, the hubs offer flexibility and economies of scale on a more local basis because they can also service more than one project – which is what we’re seeing in London.”

For more information please contact David Pidgeon at

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