Skills shortages in the Construction Industry ? Watch this space!

A Liverpool business has received over £450,000 of funding from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for a new project aimed at getting teachers and students excited about Construction.

The BIM4Education initiative will encourage a fresh approach to tackling the skills problem to change the image of the industry among young people, their teachers and parents. It will educate teachers about the digital Built Environment so that children can see the fantastic careers on offer – many using cutting-edge technology and industry standard practices aligned with the UK Government’s Construction 2025 industrial strategy.

The eighteen month project has been developed by a consortium led by the Neighbourhood Services Company (NSC) and has a total value of £640,985, of which CITB will invest £454,984 via its Flexible Fund.

The project’s three main strands are:

  • Professional development for teachers with learning resources and support centred around Building Information Modelling (BIM) processes provided by the Universities of Heriot Watt, Liverpool John Moores, Salford, Westminster and the UK BIM Alliance. This will aid the development of a new generation of Built Environment specialist teachers in secondary education and post-16 training to deliver bespoke programmes and qualifications to their students.
  • Two Regional Centres of Excellence to showcase Building Information Modelling processes at St Ambrose Barlow RC High School in Salford and the Alt Valley Community Trust in Liverpool.
  • Monthly Built Environment roadshows in schools across the UK in which Construction Ambassadors, education professionals, secondary school students and their parents will participate in a raft of activities all designed to increase the appeal of working in Construction.

The initiative is the brainchild of Alison Watson, Managing Director of Class of Your Own (COYO). Creator of the innovative Design Engineer Construct! Learning Programme. She has spent the last seven years encouraging partners and supporters to challenge misconceptions surrounding Construction and create a pipeline of talent choosing technical and professional careers in the Built Environment. This year, Neighbourhood Services Company supported COYO and provided the momentum to develop the BIM4Education concept and turn her vision into a reality.

Geeta Nathan, Head of Economic Analysis at CITB, said:

“CITB is committed to getting young people, teachers and parents to think positively about careers in Construction.This project is a great example of innovative thinking to get kids excited about the incredible career opportunities in Construction. By investing in BIM4Education we are taking a grass-roots approach to meeting the future demands of the industry by building up a strong, talented pipeline of Construction workers.”

Phil Knibb, CEO of Neighbourhood Services Company, said:

“No-one could fail to be impressed by the way Alison’s Design Engineer Construct! curriculum offers applied learning and an insight into contemporary practices into the world of Construction, and BIM4Education is a great extension of this work. Students are totally absorbed in their learning and acknowledge the fact that it provides stimulating learning experiences. NSC has visited a number of DEC! schools and visits left such a positive Impression that we offered to coordinate a funding application to CITB so that more teachers, students and their families could benefit from an engaging curriculum that drives a new perception of careers in Construction.

The consortium is thrilled to have been given the opportunity by the CITB to demonstrate how they can drive change and create unique opportunities to educate, motivate and inspire our future work force.”

Alison Watson, Managing Director of Class of Your Own, said:

“Teachers are hugely significant in the race for talent. The need to engage and excite young people about the rewards offered by a career in Construction can only happen if the teacher – often the main influencer – is well informed, knowledgeable and well trained. Long term investment in education is paramount, and the BIM4Education initiative offers further genuine support for teachers through some of the most respected organisations in industry and academia.”