A pilot project has been introduced to help fast-track the training of new bricklayers in the construction industry. This Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) scheme is part of a drive to address a national shortage of bricklayers.
Brickwork Academy is working with students at Wirral Metropolitan College and Hugh Baird College in the Liverpool city region, and Warwickshire College in the West Midlands, to give them the work experience they need to take up jobs in construction.
The students have been chosen in partnership with participating local employers and will complete an additional seven weeks of practical skills training at their college, along with work experience days on local construction sites.
After this they will spend the next 24 weeks working onsite with their employer, to achieve their NVQ Level 2 brickwork qualification. In addition to developing their practical trowel skills, the extra college training supports students to be better prepared for the construction sector, covering topics such as employability skills and self-employment.
CITB will evaluate the pilot project and if successful, it could be rolled out to more colleges across the country, and to other construction trades.
This comes after CITB research showed 70% of construction employers regard work experience as of significant value when recruiting, twice as many as those who value academic qualifications. They also found 29% of college graduates poorly prepared for work, due in part to a lack of practical, on-site experience.
“We know that construction employers are struggling to recruit skilled bricklayers, while too many students on construction-related courses lack the onsite experience and employability skills that will get them their first job in construction. We’re really encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the colleges and employers involved in the Brickwork Academy. We hope that its results will make the case for expanding the Academy approach with more employers and into other trades, to join together with other CITB initiatives to help more learners become site-ready for employment,” commented Steve Radley, CITB Strategy and Policy Director.