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Bringing together industry and government

As the Sector Skills Council for the industry, ConstructionSkills has the job of providing opportunities for industry and government to come together to focus on the skills and training issues affecting the industry…

BESA MembersAs the Sector Skills Council for the industry, ConstructionSkills has the job of providing opportunities for industry and government to come together to focus on the skills and training issues affecting the industry and to help ensure that the construction industry gets the best deal possible to meet its needs.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Construction Skills and Training plays a key role in this ongoing work.

Chaired by Claire Curtis Thomas MP, APPG members have been active in their support of major industry initiatives led by ConstructionSkills. Most recently the group hosted an employer reception to announce the launch of the new National Skills Academy for Construction. Over 60 employers and supporters attended and the Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, Margaret Hodge MP, endorsed the new Academy and welcomed ConstructionSkills' approach to training and skills development in the industry.

In addition to the support of APPG members, ConstructionSkills has been involving MPs in a variety of construction initiatives. During this year’s National Construction Week 25 MPs attended National Construction Week events in their local constituencies, designed to encourage young people into the industry.

Through the APPG, MPs and Lords have been briefed on other industry hot topics including diversity, the skills needs of the Olympics and a new approach to providing on-site practice for young people, Programme-Led Apprenticeships. The next APPG meeting will introduce members to the urgent need to boost the number of recruits working in the heritage construction sector in order to help preserve our national heritage.

Managed by ConstructionSkills, the APPG provides industry with a vital and productive link to inform and educate key influencers in the corridors of power.

In December last year, ConstructionSkills also brought together key stakeholders in both Government and industry with The Skills for Business London 2012 Infrastructure and Facilities Cluster Group conference. Attended by Phil Hope MP, Under Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the conference was an opportunity to confirm the built environment sector’s shared vision for meeting the Olympic build skills challenge.

The event enabled the Cluster Group – comprising the built environment SSCs – to demonstrate early successes and to provide strategic direction for the Olympic build and beyond, with particular focus on the Olympic’s legacy and Sustainable Communities. The Cluster Group also looked at how the skills commitment could be shared - improving the way the group engages with industry.

Opening the evening’s ceremonies, Sir Michael Latham, Chairman of ConstructionSkills noted: “This event highlights not only our early successes, but also demonstrates the importance of working together. It is through strength of partnership that we’re going to see the delivery of major projects, such as the Olympics, through with success.”

Phil Hope, who gave a keynote speech on the Government’s commitment to the development of skills and lifelong learning, said: "I am pleased to see how this collaborative approach from Sector Skills Councils is helping to deliver our ambitions for the 2012 Olympics. This model will help us to get the right skills in the right place at the right time. The 'Building One Stop Shop' and the National Skills Academy for Construction, led by employers and supported by Government, are set to play a key part in the development of skills and facilities needed for the Games and beyond, and I am confident we're forging ahead in the right direction."

The evening also witnessed the Built Environment Skills Alliance (BESA) signing its Memorandum of Agreement. This will help to ensure the industry’s skills needs are met by promoting careers within the built environment, encouraging consistency and co-ordination, and addressing policy and technical issues relating to the development and implementation of standards, qualifications, specialised lines of learning and apprenticeship frameworks.

Simon Bartley, Chairman, SummitSkills, one of six member bodies in BESA, stated: “The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement signifies BESA’s commitment to partnership as it addresses the skills agenda for the built environment and our development in a shared vision for a framework that will support productivity and lead to improved skills and performance across the built environment.

”The BESA members agree that in order to focus the activities and resources they will need a Memorandum of Agreement to clearly define the collaborative action aimed at supporting improved skills and performance.”

The Cluster Group will report to Phil Hope on a quarterly basis and will be supported by an officer of the Sector Skills Development Agency.

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and discover 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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