The pioneering Northamptonshire Construction Skills Programme has returned for a second phase to deliver free training courses in core construction skills for anyone looking to build a career in the sector, thanks to Northamptonshire County Council’s successful bid for further Government funding to continue the programme.
Following the success of the training programme which launched last year before the COVID-19 pandemic, Northamptonshire County Council has been awarded almost £200k of funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to launch a second phase of training to help people build new skills, boost employment across the county and address a recognised skills shortage in the UK construction industry.
The first round of training delivered last year and earlier this year included classroom-based learning, construction site visits and hands-on work experience, and saw people from all different backgrounds and with varying circumstances lay the foundations for a career in construction.
Almost 400 learners completed the training giving them basic level industry recognised qualifications, including CSCS card accreditation which has opened up many construction opportunities for them.
Funding for phase two of the training programme will be used to offer up to 140 more people the opportunity to learn core construction skills in line with the latest COVID-19 secure advice, guidance and restrictions, and will include a blend of virtual learning and practical experience at live construction sites.
Anyone aged 18 and above not currently working in the construction sector can take advantage of this free training programme with applications being welcomed now especially from those who are currently unemployed or at risk of redundancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other reasons, those looking for a career change as well as under-represented groups in the industry including women and BAME groups.
Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for highways and place, said:
“The first phase of the Construction Skills Programme in Northamptonshire has had great success, with almost 400 graduates now building their construction career, or ready to start work in the industry.
“I am very proud of them all and welcome the additional funding awarded from Government to enable us to launch phase two of this fantastic training programme which will help us continue to build a skilled construction workforce in Northamptonshire.
“As an area of significant growth with many construction projects happening in the area, I am pleased we are able to provide further training opportunities, which we are doing so in conjunction with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and we are pleased to be working in partnership with Evolve Your Future, who will be delivering the courses in line with the latest COVID-19 secure advice and guidelines.
“Through the programme, a varied package of learning and hands-on experience is provided for learners with essential construction courses on offer with industry recognised qualifications including CSCS card accreditation which enables learners to work on construction sites, and will open up many opportunities for them.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted many areas of our lives, and with many people facing an uncertain future, this is an ideal chance for people to take the first steps to develop new skills to build an exciting future, and grow potential, as well as be part of helping Northamptonshire’s economy at this unprecedented time.
“The training is open for everyone not currently working in the construction sector who is aged over 18 years old, and is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of free learning. A construction career really is like no other, you never know where it will lead. I’d encourage anyone thinking about it to register their interest on our website.”
Steve Radley, Strategy and Policy Director at the Construction Industry Training Board, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved with Northamptonshire Construction Skills Programme in their successful bid. In its first phase, the construction skills fund enabled 13,200 learners from across the UK to develop their skills at hubs and emerge site-ready, including 7,000 from groups that have traditionally been under-represented in the industry.
"It’s fantastic that up to 140 new learners in the Northamptonshire area will potentially have their lives transformed as they enter the construction industry.”
Kay Brockall, Managing Director at Evolve Your Future said: “The Team at Evolve Your Future are delighted to have been awarded the Construction Skills Training Contract in Northamptonshire. As a local established training company we are looking forward to working with new and established partners in supporting and upskilling individuals who have chosen to take a step into the construction industry.”
The only entry requirements for the programme are that participants are aged 18 or above, can prove they have the right to work in the UK (have either a National Insurance Number, valid Passport, full driving licence, copy of birth certificate), can read and speak English, and are not currently working in construction.
Phase two of the Construction Skills Programme continues to be run by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) until March 2021, and the County Council is one of 14 organisations across the UK who were successful in their Government funding bid to launch phase two of the programme.