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Industry welcomes a National Skills Academy for Construction

ConstructionSkills won government endorsement for its proposals for a national skills academy for construction on Tuesday and moved a step closer towards an on-site, tailor-made solution to construction skills and training challenges.

Rather than being ‘bricks and mortar’, the Construction National Skills Academy will centre on a network of on-site training centres available on major construction projects around the country. The network will deliver training on a project-by-project basis, responding to the specific skills needs of each.

The approach is designed to overcome the challenges of training a mobile workforce in a sector made up of large numbers of very small firms and sole traders, unable to commit, on an individual basis, to the costs of training, but who come together to form different parts of the supply chain on major projects.

Peter Lobban, Chief Executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills says:

“We are delighted that construction has been selected as one of the first sector skills academies. Construction is a modern, mobile industry which requires a modern, in-situ skills training solution. This dynamic and flexible National Skills Academy will be a Centre of Excellence for Work Based Learning, enabling training to be delivered to workers in the most effective way – through supply chains on major projects.

“There are beacons of good practice for on-site training - such as Paddington Basin and Canary Wharf - but for the industry to have high-performing workplaces as the norm rather than an exception requires a step-change in the concept of project-based training. We are now looking forward to working up detailed plans with the industry to make the National Skills Academy for Construction a reality.”

John Spanswick, Chairman of Bovis Lend Lease, says:

“Bovis Lend Lease is delighted to be involved in the planning stages of the skills academy, which breaks the mould in construction training. We will be able to train new entrants, up-skill existing workers and ensure the resulting skills are shared throughout the supply chain on an individual project, all on-site.

“This proposal makes a huge and real difference to construction and it validates an approach we first implemented with Lend Lease at Bluewater 10 years ago. We are looking forward to seeing how we can integrate on-site training into forthcoming London-based projects, including Greenwich Peninsula, to help form building blocks for the Olympics 2012.”

The network of on-site training centres will be supported by a fleet of regionally based mobile training centres providing access to specialist training and e-learning facilities, regional networks of best-practice centred on the CoVE network, national networks of specialist expertise through the CoVE network and product manufacturers and capacity and skills intelligence, provided by ConstructionSkills, to predict future training requirements. We will also be making the most of the excellent training facilities the industry already has at the employer sponsored National Construction College.

For more information, please read the full press release

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