The skills minister has launched a new £22 million fund to help tackle construction skills shortages.
The 18-month scheme will be overseen by the Construction Industry Training Board and funded by the Department for Education.
For our economy to thrive we need everyone, regardless of their age or background, to be able to get the training and the skills they need to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead
“For our economy to thrive we need everyone, regardless of their age or background, to be able to get the training and the skills they need to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Anne Milton at today’s launch.
“The government has committed to building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s and we want to make sure that we are investing in the UK skills base to deliver this.”
The Treasury announced in November that it would establish a “formal partnership” with the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress to oversee a new national retraining scheme focusing on improving construction and digital skills.
£34 million was pledged for “innovative” construction training programmes, for jobs such as groundworkers, bricklayers, roofers and plasterers.
“Next month our £29 million construction skills fund will open for bids to fund up to 20 construction skills villages around the country,” he said.
“As our economy changes we must ensure people have the skills they need to seize the opportunities ahead.”
The CITB also told FE Week in March that it had been working with the DfE “to help shape what the fund should be trying to achieve” and would be “likely to be managing the bidding process” for a £29 million share of the cash.
A spokesperson for the DfE said the remaining £7 million from the first announcement would be split between an “additional fund” to pay for retraining of adults in the construction sector, and administration costs for both funds.
The housing minister also welcomed the launch of the fund today.
We have already invested £1 billion to develop modern approaches in the industry and the Construction Skills Fund will teach builders the skills they need to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s
“A construction workforce with new and innovative skills is essential to building a housing market fit for the future,” said Dominic Raab.
“We have already invested £1 billion to develop modern approaches in the industry and the Construction Skills Fund will teach builders the skills they need to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.”
The £22 million fund will aim to support 20 on-site training hubs, work experience and placements for people wanting to join the industry, entry pathways for those currently unemployed, and pathways for “career switchers”.
CITB now wants employers, housing associations and other interested bodies such as local enterprise partnerships and councils to submit expressions of interest.
These can be from both existing and prospective on-site learning hubs.
The funding will only support “on-site training provision”, and access to live construction projects is essential to qualify.
“The Construction Skills Fund is a milestone scheme for the sector and provides a significant investment in skills and training. It will help attract new talent and bridge the gap between training and working in the industry,” said Steve Radley, CITB’s policy director. “Having training on or near to major projects will reveal what an exciting sector this can be, while also putting new talent in the shop window.
“We want all interested organisations to submit expressions of interest that are innovative, collaborative and with training at their heart. We will support applicants through the process and provide expert guidance to apply to the fund.
“We are pleased to help deliver this major new project and we are confident that, with industry support, it can help meet construction’s skills needs now and in the future.”