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Onsite experience opportunities in construction - Scotland

We have invited bids for projects to create a model of local, onsite training to help address the complex challenges facing the construction industry in rural Scotland. This opportunity is now closed for new bids.

CITB will invest £5.4 million in Scotland over a three-year period, specifically within Highlands and Islands, Borders and rural East Scotland. The fund will target further education students studying construction, where currently only a low percentage go on to employment in the sector.

During this period, CITB will establish at least three onsite hubs and train 4,500 individuals, 30 per cent of whom are expected to be offered employment in the sector.

The creation and retention of construction jobs in rural Scotland faces unique challenges, including: 

  • travel distance to jobs
  • material costs
  • wider socio-economic issues such as infrastructure, housing condition, depopulation and investment.

The most recent evidence for these issues can be found in the Scottish government report: A new blueprint for Scotland’s rural economy: National Council of Rural Advisers. This report highlights the need for a change in policy mindset, culture and structure to support sustainable growth in rural areas in Scotland and also suggests that construction has the largest employment jobs forecast of any sector.

CITB’s own research lines up with this report, and finds some 13,000 new jobs will be required over the next five years alone, across all 28 construction occupations measured. The forecast for job requirements is the same in rural Borders as in the Highlands, across most occupations.

Only a low percentage of those in further education studying construction currently go onto employment in the sector. A key recruitment cohort will be those students at further education college. There are 20,000 learners within the FE Network in Scotland who are studying a construction related course – anecdotal evidence shows only 15 per cent leave college and get a job within construction.

Any organisation best placed to deliver the outcome sought.
We especially welcome proposals from organisations that are:

  • levy-registered employers who are have construction projects and who are looking to employ locally
  • federations and/or trade associations who are able to galvanise local construction projects to create a collaborative response
  • construction clients and/or leaders of construction projects who want to support their supply partners to access the talent need to deliver high quality work
  • training providers and/or training consultancies with strong relationships with construction projects who can galvanise support for an on-site hub.

If you are interested in submitting an expression of interest for this commission, please sign up for the webinar where you can find out more. Details on how to do this are available under 'Further information' below.

The commission has a budget of up to £5.4m to fund at least three onsite hubs which will align to the needs of rural areas of Scotland.

Your project may address the challenges facing one or more of these areas, as outlined in ‘The challenge facing industry section’ above.

CITB will fund up to 70 per cent of the total value of the project.

Projects can last up to three years.

In the next three years we want to create a model of local, onsite training to help address the specific and complex challenges facing the construction industry in rural Scotland.

The expected results are:

  • Individuals will receive the necessary training to convert their learning in further education into a sustainable job.
  • Partnerships between industry, training providers and public sector bodies will ensure delivery in each region
  • It will enable employers to have a talent pool sufficient to meet their ongoing recruitment needs.
  • A target of 4,500 individuals will be employment and site-ready during this period.

22 July 2019  - expression of interest window opens

27 September 2019 - expression of interest closes at 5pm

11 October 2019 - deadline to submit applications at 5pm

You must submit an expression of interest first – if you get through this stage, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Expression of interest deadline – 5pm Tuesday 13 September 2019.[DJ1] 

Full application deadline – 5pm 30 September [DJ2] 2019.

You must submit an expression of interest first – if you get through this stage, you will be invited to submit a full application.


 [DJ1]13th September (depending on go-live)

 [DJ2]30th September (depending on go live)

You can provide a phased project bid, and projects can last up to three years.

Focus on one or a combination of the following areas:

  • Aberdeenshire (excluding Aberdeen)
  • Angus
  • Argyll and Bute
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • East Ayrshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Lothian
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Na h-Eileanan Siar
  • Falkirk
  • Fife
  • Highlands (includes North Highlands)
  • Inverclyde
  • Midlothian (excluding Edinburgh)
  • Moray
  • North Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Orkney Islands
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Renfrewshire
  • Scottish Borders
  • Shetland Islands
  • South Ayrshire
  • Stirling
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • West Lothian

As the challenge is essentially in increasing skills in rural areas, your project should allow training and recruitment to happen as locally as possible, whether it is on the Scottish Islands or the mainland.

We are looking for onsite placements and training, using mobile training hubs and fixed infrastructure. The focus should be on new build capital projects (through Tier 1 leads and supply chain) and repairs and maintenance programmes.

This training should lead to learners gaining employment within the industry networks.
The design of mobile training units should also contain the opportunity to diversify and roll out training interventions which meets the needs of rural industry, such as:

  • training which gets workers ‘carded’, employed and onsite
  • training which is required as part of the modern apprenticeship framework, such as onsite assessment/skills tests and specialist upskilling
  • training which is taken to the employers and stops the need for travelling from islands to mainland and vice versa making it more cost-effective and lessening carbon footprints
  • training which is part of the digital agenda
  • training school students as part of their Foundation Apprenticeship
  • training FE learners allowing for work and onsite experience within a protected hub environment. 

Your project will need delivery partners to enable the roll out of an appropriate solution for each region.

Delivery of the project will be supported by and will have the full involvement of local and national Scottish Employers and/or member organisations where there are identified occupational shortages and where such employers are looking to recruit.

If your bid is successful, your projects must start within three months of us notifying you.

Find out about more on the momentum behind this commission from the experience of the Construction Skills Fund

Pre-application webinar

We recorded a webinar to introduce this commission earlier in July. It includes an overview of the commission and some further details about how to apply.

View this webinar on YouTube


We have more live webinars for you to find out about this commission. Use the links below to register and take part:

Date: Tuesday 23 July 2019
Time: 10:00 – 11:00

Register attendance with eventbrite

Attend the webinar with eventbrite

Date: Tuesday 30 July 2019
Time: 11:30 – 12:30

Register attendance with eventbrite

Attend the webinar with eventbrite

The webinars will be recorded and shared afterwards if you are unable to attend one of the above slots.

Application workshops

We will also host workshops across the country. These workshops will give you an opportunity to find out more about the application process and how we assess proposals for funding.

Application workshops will be held in Inverness and *Langholm*. Details will be sent to you as part of the acknowledgement of your expression of interest.

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