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25th June 2008

ConstructionSkills secures a £133 million, three-year skills delivery plan with Government

A new, £133m, three-year agreement between Government and employers, to help beat major skills shortages in the UK construction industry, was announced by Skills Secretary John Denham today. 

The new deal, agreed by DIUS, the LSC and ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry, will help to deliver more skilled and qualified workers in a sector requiring over half a million new entrants in the next five years.

ConstructionSkills will use the funding to support the priorities set out in the industry’s Sector Skills Agreement, including meeting challenging targets for training new entrants and qualifying existing workers. 

Outcomes from the new investment will include:

  • 6,500 apprenticeship starts
  • Over 2,000 specialist apprenticeship starts
  • 50,000 plant operatives qualified at full level 2s

It will also support a proposal for a Construction Bursary Scheme, providing bursaries of up to £1,200 to allow atypical diverse apprenticeship candidates to work on site for up to 12 weeks prior to commencing employment. It is anticipated that 500 people annually will enter apprenticeships via this route over the three year period.

In addition, the funding agreement will build on existing success and support more employers to sign up to the Skills Pledge. Working with ConstructionSkills, over 1,000 firms – with over 60,000 employees – have already signed up, making construction the leading sector in demonstrating its commitment to training. This agreement will aim to triple the number of Pledges over three years.

The agreement also commits DIUS/LSC and ConstructionSkills to working closely on: 

  • Expanding the network of National Skills Academies for Construction on major sites across England
  • Developing a partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service
  •  Implementing a qualification strategy that meets sector needs
  •  Delivering the Government’s targets for additional new homes
  • Reducing CO2 emissions in existing buildings and introducing more sustainable building practices
  • Continuing the development of the National Construction College in Bircham Newton as a centre of excellence for the construction sector.

The move follows John Denham's recently announced consultation on a new right to time to train for employees, alongside a renewed commitment to ensure the skills system delivers appropriately trained people for industries employing the workforce of the future.

Skills Secretary John Denham said: “The government values the immense contribution the construction industry makes to our national life, and is committed to working closely with the sector to help it attract, train and retain quality staff.   This compact will ensure that employers will have access to flexible, world-class training tailored to the specific needs of their business, delivered when and where they need it.”

Mark Farrar, Corporate Services Director, ConstructionSkills, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to build on the success we have had in working with the construction industry to meet its skills needs. Through the Compact we now have a better opportunity to access funding from the Train to Gain budget to address existing and future skills needs.

“We are well placed as both a Sector Skills Council and an Industry Training Board to provide the support that the construction industry needs to ensure that those entering the industry have the skills they need and those already in the industry are able to adapt to changes that will take place.”

The Government is expected to announce further partnerships with Sector Skills Councils – prioritising those sectors in which increased investment in skills is most needed to shape a modern, competitive economy. 

Government investment in Train to Gain will also rise to over £1 billion by 2010-11, supporting over 800,000 learners to improve their skills and gain new qualifications.


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