15th July 2016
The hunt is on for 24 people from Devon who may be unemployed or looking to change jobs, to ‘Step in and Step up’ to a new career in the South West’s booming construction sector. Developed in response to a growing construction skills need both nationally and in the South West, ‘Step In and Step Up’ will see career-changers from a whole range of sectors hosted by construction companies for 12 months. During this time, they’ll undergo an intensive programme of training and work placements, gaining experience and qualifications in everything from project management and estimating to quantity surveying and site safety.
The Plymouth Construction Training Group, South Devon College and sector leaders Kier, Midas, and ISG have teamed up to launch the ‘Step in and Step up’ project. BAM, Linden and Galliford Try are also supporting this new initiative to recruit and train new talent. The £298,000 project is funded by the employers and by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) which has contributed £208,484 from the CITB Flexible Fund.
The training programme has been developed alongside the CITB to provide a good grounding in the industry with English, maths and ICT training also available. The courses are designed to be as flexible as possible to attract a wide range of people; with options to train in the evenings and at weekends for those who have an existing job or for those who may have young children and are looking to retrain for a new career. Construction output in the South West is expected to increase by more than four per cent a year until at least 2020, the second highest growth rate in the country. The Construction Skills Network has calculated that this will create 6,480 jobs each year, 60 per cent of which are senior, professional, technical and office-based roles. Bryan Trethewey, Senior Project Manager for Kier at Beckley Court, Plymouth said: “We currently have 70 people on site, working in a variety of roles. In a few months that number will rise to 225. There are more jobs than ever before in the construction industry and it is increasingly difficult to recruit people with the right skills and experience.”
Rachael Johnstone is Section Head for professional programmes at South Devon College where the bespoke training programme for ‘Step in Step up’ is being developed, she said: “We are working with the construction firms to understand what vacancies they have and then identifying the transferrable skills and professional qualifications we’d like to see from our candidates.
For example, someone with accountancy experience may be suitable for a role as a quantity surveyor, document controller or estimator or someone with journalism experience may be suited to a bid writer. Others may have experience in managing and have transferable skills that are extremely important and lead to well-paid roles in the construction industry. Our programme will combine on-the-job training with attending college once a week to make sure that these background skills are tailored to the industry with additional professional qualifications where necessary.”
As well as major housebuilding schemes, including the new towns of Sherford near Plymouth and Cranbrook near Exeter, projects such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will see major recruitment drives. Hinkley Point C expects to see up to 6,500 workers on site at any one time during the anticipated eight-year construction programme.
The first stage will invite applications via the project website from men and women from a wide range of backgrounds, including people working in other sectors who are looking for a fresh challenge. 24 recruits will be selected and will undergo a 12-month programme of training and hands-on experience in some of the many careers linked to the construction industry including; design management, procurement, quantity surveying, site management and aftercare.
You can take your fist step into the construction industry by applying via the website www.stepinstepup.co.uk today.