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Fast tracking future home builders in London
New approach puts the boot into closing the home building skills gap through 2-6-week training course

Fast tracking future home builders in London

13 October 2017

A new pilot scheme is set to make inroads into closing the home building skills gap in the region by fast tracking qualified construction college leavers into their specialist job area and getting them prepared for the world of work.

In doing so, it will reduce the risk of them falling away from the sector or unemployment. Participants have now all completed their training and are being matched with employers.

The CITB funded “boot camp” pilot has been developed by the Home Builders Federation’s (HBF) Home Building Skills Partnership, which is working in tandem with 5 further education providers across the country. In London, this includes Barking & Dagenham College, supported by the Finishing and Interiors Sector (FIS) and Saint-Gobain, which is matching 7 out of the nationwide total of 33 college leavers with potential employers.

The 2-week London boot camp is specially focused on developing the skills needed for dry lining. The FIS has worked with manufacturer and distributor of construction products, Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland, to source London college leavers for the course through their college partnerships, obtain employer support for the programme and provide the necessary materials support. Out of the Barking & Dagenham College boot camp candidates, 5 have now got employers – they include sub-contractors Astins, Stanmores and Measoms.

The initial pilot scheme is focusing on carpentry and joinery, dry lining and bricklaying, which are among the most challenging job areas to recruit to, with the potential to expand across the country into other job areas.

The boot camp is a 2-6-week on-site training course to test participant competency, enhance their newfound skills, improve speed to support their future employment with home builder firms, and bridge the gap between leaving college and the world of work. The participants are matched with potential home builders and their sub-contractors, with a view to starting on site as paid employees, subject to assessment at the end of the training. They will also receive CITB funding to achieve their NVQ for their CSCS blue skilled card.

Jenny Herdman, Director of the Home Building Skills Partnership, said:

“Colleges play a key role in getting people trained in specialist trades, but we know that it’s not always enough to secure them employment.  Nationally, the overall retention rate of construction college leavers moving into their specialist trades is a major challenge and we need them in home building.

As an industry we need to get better at transitioning college leavers from construction courses into employment.

This fast track programme aims to get more site ready people entering the home building industry and so help increase industry capacity.

Ultimately, we want to see an established pathway for new entrants from full time courses to the home building sector.

The response from industry has been extremely encouraging, and we look forward to supporting the young home builders of the future every step of the way into their new career. We would urge even more home building companies to get involved and support this pioneering initiative.” 

Director of Training for Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland, Shenaaz Chenia, said:

“We’re thrilled to have facilitated the London boot camp of this innovative scheme. As a business we are acutely aware of the emerging skills gap in the construction sector and we are determined to do our bit to encourage the next generation of engaged and skilled workers. This scheme is a fantastic model which we hope will go from strength to strength.”

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