The future of the construction industry in Wales has been given a boost by CITB’s multi-million-pound investment in four construction training and employment hubs.
The training organisation has worked in partnership with Kier, Cardiff Council, Procure Plus and Cyfle Building Skills to invest £3.6 million in the hubs, covering more than half of the total cost of £6m. The Onsite Experience hubs are designed to provide training linked to work experience and jobs to ensure learners are site ready.
The partnership will help to unlock the 9,250 additional construction workers that Wales need for the next few years. Further plans including lifting 300,000 homes out of fuel poverty by 2030.
More Welsh firms have remained operational through the pandemic than elsewhere in Britain, with increased orders and more training and apprenticeships opportunities. Wales is thus well-placed to play a leading role in the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery.
CITB Wales’ Partnerships Director Mark Bodger said:
“This investment is a boon for Welsh construction and will address the issue many employers have in struggling to find new staff who are ready to go straight onto the building site.
“Ensuring that the next generation of our construction workers are ready will not only benefit the sector, but also the economy and communities across Wales.”
Over the three years of the programme, hubs providing coverage in south east, south west and north Wales will deliver over 5,200 onsite experience placements, enabling over 2,000 people to become employment and site-ready before being linked directly to local employers with construction job vacancies. The hubs are targeting at least 875 people to enter into sustained employment. People who do not immediately secure employment through their hub will continue to receive support and signposting and will have gained the skills needed to pursue a career in construction and increase their employability.
Simon O’Donnell, Employment and Training Manager for Procure Plus, added:
“The ‘Skills for Jobs North Wales Partnership’ is one of the three Onsite Experience hubs managed by Procure Plus in Wales and England and is a fantastic opportunity to provide potential construction industry entrants with site-based training/work experience whilst at the same time assisting contractors supporting construction employers with their recruitment needs and social value commitments.”
Anthony Rees, Regional Manager for Cyfle Building Skills, said:
“The South West Wales On Site Hub has already given 70 learners from the region an opportunity to work on construction sites, which has helped to make them more site-ready and enhance their career opportunities in the first three months of the programme.
“The hub will create opportunities for young people to work alongside experienced mentors and engage with a wide network of contractors ranging from large to SME to micro employers. The initiative will create new job opportunities and much valued apprenticeships for the construction sector in Wales.”
These four hubs are part of CITB’s £10.1 million investment to establish hubs in England and Wales to enable at least 11,000 people to become employment and site-ready by 2024 and start their career in construction.
Recent investment from the Welsh Government includes the £2.3 billion 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme to upgrade learning infrastructure nationwide. Further investment includes a £35 million package to deliver 400 homes, many of them zero-carbon builds, and all built by local suppliers.