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£1 million funding bid will build construction industry talent

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World Cement,

A collaborative partnership that aims to address the major skills shortages in the construction industry has been granted £500 000 of funding from the England European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme (ESIF) 2014-2020 and match funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) providing an overall total of £1 million.

The project, known as ‘Step Up Into Construction’ is a strategic partnership between a number of leading Yorkshire based education providers, local councils, housing associations, social enterprise groups, careers advisors, training boards and public sector and government departments. It will use the money to address the chronic need for more skilled workers by engaging with hundreds of people to deliver relevant work placements, training, further education and employment.

According to the CITB’s annual construction survey, the industry needs an extra 224 000 workers over the next five years as growth returns to the industry across the whole country for the first time since the financial crisis. The CITB also forecasts annual year-on-year growth of 2.9% to 2019.

Deputy Principal Derek Whitehead from the project’s lead partner, Leeds College of Building, says: “We are delighted to be spearheading this proactive and exciting scheme that will give so many more people in the Leeds City Region the opportunity to develop a meaningful career and work in such a fast growing industry.

“Step Up Into Construction will be the first port of call for anyone who wants to find out more about the huge range of careers available in the industry. We will be able to facilitate valuable work placements, supported by a wide range of employers and help people develop the skills required to embark on a successful career in construction, including those returning to the industry, before helping them to secure employment opportunities.” ?

The funding will allow the 12 delivery partners, 10 strategic partners and a network of employers to raise the profile of the careers available and therefore attract more people – including those who are currently under-represented in the industry - into construction.

Steve Close, Group Chief Executive from delivery partner Together Housing says: “This campaign will use a number of innovative market strategies and engagement activities to encourage a whole new audience to become interested, excited and enthusiastic about a career in construction.

“Many people are unaware of the sheer variety of jobs and training routes that are currently available and we will address this issue head on. Construction really is an area that allows people to develop a career that’s going places and anyone that gets involved with Step Up Into Construction will be investing in the future of the industry and playing a valuable role in addressing the current skills shortage.”

Step Up Into Construction’s education partners are Leeds College of Building, DISC, Bradford College, Calderdale College, Leeds City College, Kirklees College, Wakefield College and York College. Leading employers that are involved include Renew, Groundworks, Together Housing Groups and Aspire-Igen. Its strategic partners are York Council, Kirklees Council, Leeds City Council, Calderdale Council, Bradford Council, Leeds Beckett University, C&K Careers, CITB, YorFutures and The Department for Works and Pensions / Job Centre Plus.

Derek adds: “Step Up Into Construction will not only attract more people into the industry, but it will help businesses fill vacancies and make them more productive. It will also provide employers with a great pool of participants for work placements, apprenticeships and part and full time positions. We anticipate that we will be working with over 1000 people initially, helping them access the relevant education, training and health and safety requirements that the construction industry desperately needs to help plug its skills shortage.”

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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