Conference hears how public, private and education collaboration is set to address construction sector skills gaps

Conference hears how public, private and education collaboration is set to address construction sector skills gaps

Julie Richards | Conference hears how public, private and education collaboration is set to address construction sector skills gaps | The Paradise

Conference hears how public, private and education collaboration is set to address construction sector skills gaps in North Derbyshire

A powerful collaboration between Chesterfield’s public, private and education sectors – working alongside Chesterfield Borough Council – is set to roll out two initiatives which will address skills shortages within the construction sector.

The initiatives – Careers Made in Chesterfield and the Construction Skills Hub – were showcased at the annual Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Employability and Skills Conference,held on 8 February at The Winding Wheel Theatre.

Currently being piloted with Parkside Community School, the Careers Made in Chesterfield initiative aims to deliver careers support and guidance in schools and also forge links with businesses within the local construction and property sector. Already, the initiative is reporting increased interest in construction careers from the pupils who have been involved with the pilot.

Mr Riggott, Headteacher, Parkside Community School, said:

“The Careers Made in Chesterfield pilot represented a step change in creating sustained connections between our Year 10 students and some great local companies. Our students loved it! 

“This model is fantastic for a number of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, students build their knowledge of and relationships with employers across the programme, which in turn enhances their confidence and the likely outcomes of work experience following an extremely informed choice.

“I am a huge believer in the power of schools working closely with local companies in this way. As a school leader, I have seen first-hand the transformational potential of such partnerships, including through the hugely successful Avenue School Challenge in 2019 which led to apprenticeships for a number of our students following the programme.  As a parent, this year I have also seen one of my sons begin a degree apprenticeship with the company with whom he completed work experience back in Year 10.” 

Careers in Chesterfield has been supported by the Chesterfield Property and Construction Forum, which is led by Andy Dabbs, a Chartered Architect and Board Director at Whittam Cox Architects. Members of the Forum have delivered in-school talks, hands-on activities, and workshops to raise awareness of the sector and jobs and roles available within it to the entire Year 10 group at Parkside Community School.

Mr Dabbs said:

“Collaboration between businesses and schools is crucial in addressing the skills shortage in the property and construction industry. The Property and Construction Forum’s involvement in the Careers Made in Chesterfield pilot is a prime example of the importance of creating pathways for young people to enter the sector. Without these efforts, the industry’s growth will be hindered, both regionally and nationally.”

Subject to funding, Chesterfield Borough Council will work with partners to roll out the Careers Made in Chesterfield initiative to more schools and sectors across the borough from September 2023.

Mr Riggott added:

“Chesterfield schools, the College, other education providers and businesses have a real opportunity to work with Chesterfield Borough Council and sector forums on programmes like the Careers Made in Chesterfield project and to shape wider skills planning for an exciting future for our young people.  We are very much looking forward to being part of that work.”

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Both locally and regionally, the construction sector is suffering a skills shortage. In the East Midlands an extra 17,500 construction workers will be needed from 2023-2027, an annual requirement of 3,500 new workers every year.

Cllr Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and Vice Chair of Destination Chesterfield said:

“We’re proud to support and strengthen partnerships between businesses, education, and the public sector, by bringing together these sectors we can help ensure that young people receive the training and support they need to develop great careers in Chesterfield. This is all about ensuring that our borough continues to thrive and that the quality of life for local people is improving.

“We’ll continue to proactively support initiatives like this conference and Careers Made in Chesterfield because they really do help ensure young people can have the best start to their careers and can then stay and progress in Chesterfield. Developing skills though is not just about helping young people and our new Construction Skills Hub will help people who want to retrain and access careers in construction.”

Further addressing the increasing construction skills shortage within Chesterfield, the Construction Skills Hub in Mastin Moor will welcome learners from autumn this year.

Funded through the Staveley Town Deal, the skills hub will provide a practical platform for construction training, careers activity and work experience on a live construction site.

Initially the Skills Hub will provide training in site and bench joinery, brickwork, ground works and electrical installation but in time the offer will expand to include training in retrofit and green technologies. It will be open to school leavers and other residents seeking to train or retrain.

The Hub will provide training, careers insights, and work experience for more than 5,000 learners over 10 years.

Chesterfield College with support from the University of Derby have been appointed to deliver the training. It will be delivered in collaboration the Devonshire Group, which is bringing forward a new housing development in Mastin Moor.

Speaking at the conference Principal and CEO of the Chesterfield College Group Julie Richards said:

“We firmly believe in providing the skills and experience necessary for a successful career to support the local economy we serve. We must work in collaboration with local employers and other stakeholders. As such, we’re delighted to be part of a variety of significant local projects such as partnering with Devonshire Group for the Construction Skills Hub servicing Staveley and surrounding areas.

“The unique initiative provides a huge variety of work-based training opportunities on one of the largest housing developments in local history delivering qualifications from Entry Level to Higher Education progression in partnership with the University of Derby.

“To provide a pipeline of highly skilled workers for years to come the hub has a firm focus on skills for the future and will deliver both traditional trade skills alongside cutting edge methods of construction including low carbon technologies.”

The annual free-to-attend conference, which aims to strengthen links between education providers and businesses, was organised by Chesterfield Borough Council and Destination Chesterfield, with support from Derbyshire North Careers Hub. It was attended by businesses, schools and education providers in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Conference hears how public, private and education collaboration is set to address construction sector skills gaps was published on FE News by FE News Editor


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