A 22 million pound fund has been created to deal with the construction skills shortage in the UK. The fund was launched by Anne Milton, the UK Government Skills Minister, in the middle of June this year. The Construction Skills Fund is aimed at bringing new training opportunities to plant operators and independent contractors on the ground at construction sites. It will help learners use their knowledge on real projects, turning theory into practice.
The new fund will kill two birds with one stone. It’ll help learners hone their skills by immersing themselves in a real construction project atmosphere. Meanwhile, employers can deal with the construction skills shortage.
This shortage has been plaguing the UK construction industry for many years. It has limited construction activity substantially while increasing labour costs across the industry. In 2017, the shortage hit its worst level, and the prospects weren’t optimistic. The recruitment of new apprentices and active workers couldn’t keep up with the retirement rate.
The CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) explained that the industry requires at least 157,000 new recruits by 2021. Otherwise, the demands for the construction workforce won’t be met. The main weapon for tackling this shortage is the apprenticeship levy. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is in charge of administering the new 18-month scheme. The board is already working to get expressions of interest from such bodies as housing associations. LEPs and local authorities. The fund will support:
- 20 on-site training hubs
- Placements for young people trying to join the construction industry
- Entry-level positions for the currently unemployed
- Opportunities for workers trying to change their occupation within the industry
The fund was created to support onsite training provision only. It has become an integral part of the government’s recent Industrial Strategy. The long-term goal is to build a country fit for the future by assisting companies to create jobs all over the UK.
The fund is expected to bring new talent to the construction industry by bridging the gap between training and work. It is mostly oriented toward adult construction workers looking to gain new skills or find/switch jobs.
Allowing people to train on the job can help them realise how interesting and exciting the industry is. It can also help potential workers see whether they really want to work in construction before they are hired for a full-time job, boosting industry retention.
The government wants the fund to start working with housing and infrastructure projects in particular. The new facilities will need to be built at major construction sites to accommodate the training programme.
The programme is open to participation by:
- Employers with large infrastructure or housing projects
- Local authorities
- Combined authorities
- Housing associations
- Other clients (e.g. HS2)
- Training groups
- Higher education providers
- Private training providers
The application deadline for funding applications is September 17th 2018 and the successful applicants will be declared in the autumn; their names appearing on the CITB website. Best of luck with your application!