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Scotland’s Deputy First Minister welcomes Sector Skills Agreement for Scottish construction industry to tackle skills needs

Commenting on the launch at the Signet Library in Edinburgh, Nicol Stephen, Deputy First Minister said: “Sector Skills Councils are established by industry for industry. They are here to make sure that industries have the right people, with the right skills at the right time - increasing productivity by developing the skills of the workforce. Sector Skills Agreements are key to achieving this aim.”

The vision of a construction industry that is fully qualified, highly professional and working safely to deliver outstanding value in Scotland, came one step closer today with the launch of a Sector Skills Agreement (SSA), that puts employers squarely at the centre of decisions about the funding and delivery of training in construction.

Peter Lobban, Chief Executive of ConstructionSkills, said:

“The ConstructionSkills Sector Skills Agreement for Scotland gives employers a real say in the skills and training needs of the industry, creating the best opportunity we have ever had to tackle the industry’s future skills needs.

“ConstructionSkills believes that although theory can be gained in classrooms, experience has to come from on-site training and practice. This principle is a central focus of the SSA, and must be applied across the industry to ensure we have the skilled workers required to build the schools, hospitals, roads, houses and sporting venues planned for the next 10 years.”

ConstructionSkills disseminated a Newsletter at the launch highlighting the role of ConstructionSkills and the work that we are doing in Scotland. Employers, throughout Scotland, will continue to receive this newsletter in communications from us over the next few weeks.

The Scottish construction industry provides direct and indirect employment for over 170,000 people. Total output for the industry in Scotland was over £3.4bln in 2003 and growth is set to continue - with an increase of 18.1% by 2008.

In addition, 79% of Scottish construction firms have fewer than 10 employees. While these highly versatile, small or mostly sole traders offer the flexibility to deal with fluctuating demand, robust information on the level of their qualifications is as yet unavailable. The constant uncertainty of what lies ahead and the level of labour-only subcontracting also inhibits the development of a training culture.

Engaging with the majority is vital in achieving the required step change that will enable the industry to deliver ‘even more, but better’. For this reason, there needs to be greater emphasis on developing project-based solutions that address key skills challenges by sharing the load, and cost, of training across the whole supply chain.

Further information:

  • Read the full press release
  • Download the ConstructionSkills Scottish Newsletter
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