Construction Skills Fund – Funding Success

January 2020

The Construction Skills Fund supports the development of construction on-site training hubs. The hubs help train the long-term unemployed and people who are looking to make a career change into the construction industry. A year on from its inception, CITB’s Construction Skills Fund (CSF) is yielding positive results – developing 25 onsite training hubs in England that address the skills shortage and welcome people from under-represented groups, like non-traditional learners and those at risk of unemployment. The hubs aid in building a workforce that reflects Britain’s diverse population and provides individuals with placements and sustained employment in the sector.

Creating onsite hubs

Established to train a site-ready workforce ready to meet the needs of the UK construction industry, the circa-£20-million fund was launched in October 2018 and comprised around £17 million from the Department for Education (DfE) and £3 million from CITB. It’s helped to create 25 new onsite training hubs across the country. In December 2019, UK Construction Online stated: “The CSF appears to be positively impacting the industry as a whole.”

 Filling the shortfall

The construction industry is forecast to grow over the next few years, with the Construction Skills Network (CSN) suggesting that over 168,500 jobs will need to be filled. By recruiting those from diverse backgrounds, the CSF aims to work towards a solution for this shortfall. Vill Powell, course facilitator at Building Block in Sheffield, helps run and manage the Construction Skills and Certificate Scheme (CSCS). He describes the CSF as “the most beneficial for individuals and the most worthwhile in terms of experience”. Vill is proud that the scheme is “the most successful in terms of people getting employment”.

 Creating opportunities

Take Colin Reeves, whose experience working at Battersea Power Station illustrates the real-world benefits of the CSF. Colin currently works as a hoist driver at Battersea and has had various jobs throughout his life. In fact, he had worked in the construction industry earlier in his career but left it to join Royal Mail. Colin speaks about his positive return to the construction industry, saying: “I decided to come back to something I knew, and the training I’ve received so far has given me the confidence to do something I’ve never done before. I would recommend taking up training to anybody.”

Meanwhile, Sheffield-based Amir Ghotbi has compared it to a door that opens to countless opportunities. He says: “This situation is like a key. The fund has improved most of the things in my life, and it’s like you have freedom.”

“I decided to come back to something I knew, and the training I’ve received so far has given me the confidence to do something I’ve never done before. I would recommend taking up training to anybody.”

Colin Reeves

Hoist Driver, Battersea Power Station

Yielding results, empowering people

The CSF is yielding results, and those who have taken part in its training schemes are already getting jobs. 13,000 individuals are now in employment and site ready, with 3,900 in sustained employment. Davey Allen was a mechanic from Sheffield, and his story sheds light on the practical benefits of the CSF. At 23 he was bored and wanted to change his career. Thanks to his brother, who already worked in construction, Davey joined the course at Sheffield’s Building Block. Now he has absorbed and benefited from the training, experiencing new trades while learning at the same time. 45% of individuals come from under-represented groups or non-traditional entry routes.

Thanks to the CSF, many new workers are being trained to enter the construction industry and feel empowered. While they come from all walks of life, they have all found value in a life in construction.

To discover more about CSF, please click here

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