Would-be construction workers are gaining practical site experience thanks to a partnership between CITB, Doncaster College and building company Lindum Group.
Keith Ellis and Abdi Syad, who are both long term unemployed, have spent two weeks on Lindum building sites in Doncaster as part of the CITB’s Pathways into Construction programme.
They were given an insight into how major projects are run, told about the rigorous health and safety measures that are in place and were shown the different types of job roles available.
Pathways into Construction is designed to attract people from underrepresented groups into the building industry. It is aimed at key groups including young people not in education, training or work; women; long-term unemployed; service leavers who left the military at least 12 months ago; and full-time learners, focusing on CBE Diploma students.
The nationwide scheme is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and is being delivered in this region by Doncaster College.
Lindum is currently running two sites in the town. One on St Modwen Park Doncaster, where it is building three further industrial units for St Modwen, and the other in the town centre, where it is building a new Savoy cinema and restaurant units for Doncaster Council. The pair spent a week working on each site.
Mr Syad (30), who lives in Doncaster and said: “I had a really good time. I was well looked after by the guys on site and the whole experience was very good.
“I learned a lot about how sites run on a daily basis and I was really interested to see how much health and safety rules impact on the work.”
Doncaster College’s Director of Construction, Nick Rudkin, said practical experience was a vital part of the course.
“Aimed at community groups from disadvantaged backgrounds we are providing learning opportunities which lead to jobs for people who might normally never access the diverse opportunities available in Construction,” he said.
“A missing link with this type of training is providing a work placement for people to truly experience life on site. Lindum’s involvement, along with other similar building companies, is helping to support the initiative and give the group a true taste of the industry.
“Combining eight weeks of training in multiple trades, plus a Health and safety module has made our groups ready for the world of work on site. Lindum took some of our group and provided the much needed work experience for two weeks. With the College developing the right skills, and employers giving the site introductions, we are preparing the next generation of skilled workers in what is a skill starved sector.”
Lindum Group, which has offices in York, Lincoln and Peterborough, has an established work experience programme and well placed to work with the college and CITB on this project.
Community engagement co-ordinator Hayley Cowell said this scheme was among a number of activities the company was running in Doncaster.
“We were really happy to engage in this programme as it aligns well with our core values around community relationships and industry training,” she said.
“We aim to offer a positive experience to those who come on work experience to us and it is important to the longevity of our business to promote construction as an exciting and rewarding career path.”
Through the programme, CITB will be targeting more than 11,800 people across the country to attract them into construction careers. Construction output is expected to grow by 1.3 per cent per year with 168,500 jobs being created by 2023 - challenging employers to recruit more people from diverse backgrounds.
Just 16 per cent of construction employees are female, and 7 per cent are from BAME backgrounds.
Stephen Cole, CITB Head of Careers Strategy, said: “With thousands of jobs being created in the coming years, Pathways into Construction will demonstrate that we need to stop fishing in only half the pond and diversify the talent pool to meet future skills needs.
"We’ll explore the best routes, which employers can adopt in future, to bring under-represented groups into the industry, not only filling the skills gap but also supporting employers by recruiting domestic talent with Brexit on the horizon.”
Cllr Bill Mordue, Doncaster Council Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Economic Development, said: “We want our local people and businesses to have access to work, on-site experience, skills development and supply chain opportunities when we deliver our major schemes so our local economy benefits every step of the way.
“Our Major Projects and Procurement teams have been working closely with Lindum and Doncaster College during the development of our exciting new cinema and restaurant complex in Doncaster’s Civic and Cultural Quarter to help organise these community arrangements, so we are delighted that they have been so rewarding.”