The Scottish construction sector is set to receive a £5.4m injection of support for training and retraining more skilled workers to help the industry face the skills challenges of the future. The cash will be invested in creating three hubs with a brief to expand opportunities for employment through onsite experience in mostly rural areas.
The investment will build on the success of the Construction Skills Fund (CSF) in England, and represents an historic investment in training a site-ready workforce for construction employers. CITB’s Construction Skills Network report shows that construction requires 168,500 skilled people to enter the industry over the next five years, including 13,950 in Scotland, where the sector is forecast to grow by 0.5%.
Ian Hughes, CITB Partnerships Director for Scotland, said: “This major cash injection will give the Scottish construction industry a real boost, specifically within Highlands and Islands, Borders, and rural East Scotland. A target of 4,500 individuals will be site ready during this period, replicating the success of CSF with a 30% conversion into sustained employment in the sector.”
CITB Chief Executive Sarah Beale said: “Onsite Experience comes at a critical time for construction when it will need to grow more of its own workforce. This is a key part of our strategy to help construction recruit its future workforce, which will also include a major careers campaign and substantially increased support for employers taking on apprentices.”
“Meeting demand for new homes and investing in infrastructure requires more skilled people in construction,” continued Beale. “We face the perfect storm of an uncertain post-Brexit migration system, and an ageing workforce with many set to retire in the near future. It is therefore essential that the industry attracts, trains, and retains new talent wherever it can be found to ensure construction isn’t hampered by a shortage of site-ready workers.”
Over the next three years, the Onsite Experience Commission will help the construction industry tackle the skills gap by providing 18,000 site-ready workers and help it to grow more of its own workforce. Twenty new hubs will be established on construction sites across Scotland, England and Wales, tailored to provide training in trades where particular shortages have been identified and connecting new talent with educators and employers.
Many of the hubs will be in rural and “left behind” areas. They will draw on lessons learned from the CSF in England, which has already exceeded many of its targets. Each hub will develop links between employers, colleges and local government to meet locally identified skills needs. The industry is being invited to apply for funding over the coming months.
Sarah Beale concluded: “Britain urgently needs more construction workers, and more opportunities for people from every background and every region. I am confident that by making its largest ever investment in the onsite experience commission, CITB can provide the construction industry with the modern workforce it needs to become more inclusive, more sustainable, and construct a better Britain.”
In Scotland, £5.4m will be invested in creating three hubs with a brief to expand opportunities for employment through Onsite Experience in mostly rural areas. In England, £8.8m is being allocated to at least 14 hubs to address occupational shortages through on-site opportunities In Wales, the focus will be ensuring full-time construction students are site ready. Three areas aligned with city regions will receive £3.6m over 3 years.
22 July 2019: expressions of interest open
19 August 2019: full applications open
27 September 2019: deadline for expressions of interest
11 October 2019: deadline for applications
All parties wishing to express an interest should visit the commission webpage.