What Construction Skills Fund has achieved so far - case studies

Battersea Power Station, London


Colin’s story

62-year-old Colin worked in the construction trade a long time ago, helping his Dad with small building conversions from the age of 15. Colin left the industry as he grew up and became a postman (for 10 years) and then later on, a caretaker.

Colin became unemployed in his 60s and was registering for universal credit. His local job centre registered him onto the Workmatch Scheme, which exists to help people like Colin find new employment. The scheme referred Colin to Karen Gray at the Battersea Power Station development, and Colin expressed an interest in getting back into the construction trade, but in a role that wasn’t too physically demanding. He attended two weeks of training and undertook several card tests to secure a blue CSCS card.

Colin has now been working for 4 months as a Hoist Driver (a role he knew very little about) at the Battersea development. He is working on Phase 2 at the moment and had been on the same hoist for 3 months. However, this week and next he is providing relief for people on holiday and this has seen him operating three new hoists in a different part of the site.  He is enjoying the change and meeting new people. Colin operates two types of hoist; 1) Goods Hoist –light materials and supplied, 2) Big Hoist –heavy materials (bricks) and people needing to move around the site. Colin works for Riverside Construction, which is linked to Clipfine.

Colin is really enjoying his new job; it pays well and site staff are friendly. He says the site is huge and one of the toughest parts of the job is understanding where everything is. He knows 90% of the site but is still learning.

Gareth’s story

Clipfine logistics manager Gareth looks after logistics at Battersea Power Station, getting people from A to B in safety. He is also responsible for moving equipment across the site, including hoists and tower cranes, and for planning storage and deliveries.

Clipfine ensure a ready supply of newly-trained operatives are available, fresh from training, eager to work, and ready to implement their skills on the site. New recruits arrive via the principal contractor with whom they have their induction, then take a Clipfine induction taken by Gareth.

In the course of the induction Gareth arranges one-to-one sessions with all new recruits, in which they can learn more about Clipfine and what to expect, as well as what Clipfine expects from them in return.

Clipfine has received excellent fdeedback about the quality and enthusiasm of new recruits coming through trhe programme, and Gareth advises anyone intereste din construction to keep up their skills sets and use training to pick which is the best avenue for them.

Phil’s story

43-year-old Phil worked in the theatre and arts industry for over 11 years before started a career in construction. Having been unemployed for seven months, a friend who worked at Battersea Power Stations suggested he looked at training for a career in construction. Phil enrolled and undertook a week’s HSS training followed by CSCS card training.

Phil has autism and dyslexia and was worried this would hold him back in construction. This has been far from the case and all trainers have been supportive and instilled a sense of self-belief in his skills.

He initially had an induction to be a Traffic Marshal but didn’t get the job because his spoken English was too good. He was good and enjoyed computing so then started a CAD Technician role. This involves Phil scanning buildings pre and post service installation to ensure everything is correct. He has excelled in this role owing to his close attention to detail and communication skills. Phil didn’t like the stress of computer work and now focuses of surveying using a scanner on-site each day instead. This has seen him visit a number of developments around London for his work.

Phil has now passed his probation period, which has seen him become a 3D Surveyor and receive a pay rise. He is delighted with this news and the level of self-doubt he had when he started out on his construction journey is slowly decreasing, as he becomes more confident in his role.


Tom’s story

HSS training instructor Tom started his construction career as a hydraulic and electrical technician. He moved into health and safety nine years ago. His role is to train delegates in health and safety awareness as part of the Construction Gateway Project for Wandsworth Council and Battersea Power Station.

Tom runs a two-day course for delegates in aspects of HSE, including fire safety, working in a confined space, and safety at heights. Delegates who are uncertain about what direction they wish to take in construction can take the course, learn about HSE and use this knowledge in a wide variety of construction-related careers.

Tom says there are many advantages to taking an HSE course, as it opens up more doors and allows participants to go further in their construction career. Tom says his job is rewarding, in particular seeing delegates complete the course, move forward in construction,  and hopefully begin a rewarding career. He advises new entrants to grab every opportunity, take every course they can – even if you aren’t yet certain how they want to use the qualification.


Tony’s story

As a Logistics operative at Battersea Power Station, part of Tony’s responsibility is to find the right place for construction materials that are delivered onsite each day. The job provides huge variety: Tony is never in the same place for long and finds his job exciting and enjoyable

Like many recruits to the construction industry, Tony has experience working in pother sectors. In his case, this was working as a youth worker and mentor in the care sector with vulnerable young people who had challenges they found hard to cope with.

On reaching 50, Tony decided he wanted to try something new. Having always wanted to work in construction, Tony found out about the logistics operative post by attending Brixton Jobs Fair and the Battersea team recruited him to start a few days later. The construction industry welcomes the experience and diversity of older recruits who have worked in different sectors and Tom says the training he received has allowed him to keep up with his colleagues.

The Building Block CSF Training Hub, Sheffield 

Amir's story

Originally from Iran, Amir came to the UK to build a better life for his family and find a fulfilling career. He initially volunteered in a building maintenance role to improve his English and really liked the work. Amir was referred to The Building Block in Sheffield for his CSCS training and to learn general construction skills, which would better his chances of finding a job.

Amir really enjoyed the variety of training he received on the course, and in particular the onsite training element. After the course, Amir decided to focus on plumbing as his chosen trade. He now works as a Plumber’s Mate for a local Sheffield employer and really appreciates the opportunities this role and the industry as a whole has given him.

Listen to Amir tell his story and how his life has been transformed as a result of the CSF training he received. 

Davey's story

Having worked as a mechanic previously, 23 year-old Davey was looking to change his career. He had an interest in construction because his brother worked in the industry, but had never really acted upon it. He started to search for opportunities and was referred to The Building Block in Sheffield to receive some general construction training. Davey really enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the course and liked how friendly, professional and knowledgeable his trainers were.

Now he has successfully completed his training, he has worked in several different construction roles and has high hopes for the future in the industry.

Listen to Davey’s story in full and how the CSF training he received helped him find a rewarding new career path.

Vill's story

Vill is a course facilitator at The Building Block, which is supported by Sheffield City Council. Vill runs and manages the CSCS training aspect of the course, as well as Health and Safety training.

Listen to what Vill has to say about what makes the Constructions Skills Fund training programme unique in terms of training and employability in England, and how he relishes the opportunity to retrain people for a career in construction.