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Skills Minister David Lammy commends ConstructionSkills for its commitment to industry skills and training

Skills Minister David Lammy praised industry and congratulated ConstructionSkills for a year of great achievement at the annual ConstructionSkills Open meeting held at Vinopolis on 23 April.

Employers, federations, professional institutions, training providers, higher education institutions and members from the ConstructionSkills Council gathered to review the industry’s skills and training achievements in 2007 and to look forward to targets and plans for 2008.

Major highlights of 2007 included:

  • Eight National Skills Academy for Construction sites established and another 50 in the pipeline,
  • 300 university students matched with employers through the Inspire Scholarships scheme
  • the roll out of the Professional Coaching Scheme
  • the launch of the Sector Skills Agreement for Northern Ireland
  • just over £17 million in capital funding secured from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to improve and redevelop the National Construction College campus in Norfolk
  • 420,000 people passed the ConstructionSkills Health & Safety Test, bringing the industry total to over 1.5 million
  • 48,000 experienced workers achieved a Vocational Qualification through on-site assessment and training routes
  • Growth of the CSN observatory group to include over 600 members

Speaking at the event in Southwark, Skills Minister David Lammy said: “If anyone wants to know what part the construction industry can play in making our country better, all they have to do is look at how Southwark’s changed over the last 20 years.  By embracing the skills challenge with the enthusiasm that it has done, the construction industry is doing its bit to ensure that Britain will continue to reap the benefits of positive change in the next 20.

“The Government will continue to work closely with ConstructionSkills to equip the industry with the skills and training it needs to reach new heights, at home and on the world stage.”

Sir Michael Latham, Chairman of ConstructionSkills said, “ ConstructionSkills is a leading Sector Skills Council and our success in 2007 bares testament to this but there are still a lot of challenges that we must face to make sure that we meet the current and future needs of our industry. We have a strong track record of delivering for industry and this will put us in a strong position to lever the best skills and training deals for our industry in the future.”

The event included a ‘Question Time’ style debate which gave attendees the opportunity to pose questions to a panel comprising:

  • Graham Watts, Chief Executive, CIC,
  • Allan McMullen, Chief Executive, CITB Northern Ireland,
  • Sir Michael Latham, Chairman, ConstructionSkills,
  • Peter Lobban, Chief Executive, ConstructionSkills,
  • Sunand Prasad, President, RIBA, and
  • Susan Anderson, Director of Human Resources Policy, CBI.

The panel session and key note addresses followed facilitated round table discussions which sought to address future strategies for the industry’s skills and training agenda. The topics for discussion were centred round the refreshed Sector Skills Agreement key themes and priorities, which include:

  • recruiting qualified new entrants – increasing the number of graduate entrants and opportunities for work experience
  • qualifying the existing workforce – achieving a fully skilled, qualified and healthy workforce
  • supporting lifelong learning – developing interdisciplinary and team working on projects, and improving continuous professional development

Despite the uncertainty of the current economic climate, the overall mood among attendees at the meeting was one of optimism borne from the knowledge that the construction industry continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate. Overall, it is forecast to grow by 1.7% a year between now and 2012 and is expected to require as many 88,400 new recruits a year to meet this demand. The Construction Skills Network will continue to run scenarios to take account of changing economic circumstances, but current indications are that training and qualifying the workforce will remain high on the agenda throughout 2008 and beyond.

ConstructionSkills progress and plans was launched at the event, which outlines the progress we have made in 2007 and our plans for 2008 to deliver a safe, professional and fully qualified construction workforce. For a copy please email

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and find out more about how your company can get involved in helping secure the future of the UK construction industry register for the Skills Update

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