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Training up 160 more on-site assessors to qualify the next generation

brendan devine

CITB is tackling an industry shortage by training 160 more on-site NVQ and SVQ assessors and opening up four new assessment centres. 

Nine companies will deliver projects worth a total of £1.8m to recruit and train more on-site assessors to help boost qualified workers in the following areas: finishing and interiors; demolition; plant operations and maintenance; scaffolding; and passive fire protection. 

With the industry expected to grow by 1.3% per year for the next five years, thousands of construction workers will need to be upskilled, as well as those with skills and experience but without formal qualifications. 

Enabling experienced construction professionals to become assessors keeps them and their knowledge within the industry, providing new career development, while also ensuring on the job training for the next generation.  

In 2016, it was estimated that 3,800 new on-site assessors would be needed to replace those retiring or moving on as well as addressing the skills shortage. Last year CITB funded the training of an additional 141 new assessors, five new assessment centres, plus 11 Internal Quality Assurers.     

Brendan Devine, 64 (pictured), is a Senior Site Inspector with Kilmarnock-based Avesta Group. He joined the construction industry four decades ago in his twenties and has worked in specialist fire protection for 34 years, eventually specialising in passive fire protection. 

After 16 years working for a Warrington-based fire safety testing company, he was considering retirement when a CITB-funded opportunity to train as a qualifications assessor in passive fire protection installation arose, through the Scottish Specialist Contractors Group and The Academy for Construction People, which includes SVQ and NVQ assessments - which will make him the only one within this field in Scotland.  

He said: “I’ve worked all my life, and I didn’t know if I should just stop working, but this seemed like a good opportunity, as well as helping the youngsters that we take on. When knowledge just disappears, it’s hard to replace it.”

Graham McPhail, CITB Head of Education and Training, said: “With the industry expected to grow in the coming years amid a skills shortage and the workforce implications of Brexit, it’s essential to give workers the skills they need to become qualified, to not only get on with their careers but also benefit the industry as a whole.”

One of the larger projects will see Seymour Civil Engineering Contractors Ltd establish a ‘live work ready’ training academy in partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education. This learning hub will provide accredited training and vocational qualifications (NVQ/SVQs) in areas such as plant operation, civil engineering skills, ecology and health and safety.

Kevin Byrne, Managing Director of Seymour Civil Engineering, said: “The new training academy will create a live working site around the natural environment, ensuring that individuals leaving the training academy will be work ready. Training will be taken up a gear as operatives will be able to practice on a site that’s authentic, but away from commercial pressures, allowing repeat exercises until the required skill levels are achieved. 

“CITB have ensured that Seymour Civil Engineering will be able to grow the skillsets of the next generation through the funding process as well as enabling employment of additional training staff to meet the anticipated demand.“As well as contributing to plugging the skills gap, another major benefit of the training academy is that it will provide a welcome boost to the local economy providing social and economic benefits as the academy attracts more people into Hartlepool.”

A smaller scale scheme is being delivered by Ayrshire Coatings Ltd, to qualify three plastering assessors and establish a new assessment centre for Scotland and the North of England, in partnership with the Ayrshire Construction Training Group.  

Other companies involved in CITB's £1.8m assessment infrastructure commission are: Simian Risk Management Ltd; Cathedral Training Ltd; Dry Lining and Plastering Training Forum; DMR Training and Consultancy Ltd; Four Construction Training Group; King Lifting Ltd; and North West Skills Academy Ltd.  

Find out more about CITB’s expansion of assessment infrastructure.