Yesterday (19 March) saw the official launch of the Luton Construction Skills Academy following the announcement of a £1 million fund, secured from the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Skills Fund late last year.
The academy, based at the Luton Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) scheme site is being delivered in partnership with the VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier joint venture and the Construction Skills Network, made up of contractors, developers, training and employment support providers from the local area.
The project, which will run until March 2020, will offer local people the opportunity to be trained in a variety of construction skills, and will provide local and regional employers with access to trained potential employees.
Focus will be on training up those from underrepresented groups and so far the scheme has received referrals from Luton Council’s Passport to Employment programme, Noah, Luton Youth Offending Service and the Avenue Centre for Education.
The scheme runs a five day programme, which includes training in Level 1 Health and Safety Awareness, Manual Handling/Working at Height or Fire Warden, Careers in Construction and Emergency First Aid. All trainees also have the opportunity to take their Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) test at the end of the five day course.
Cllr Sian Timoney, Luton’s portfolio holder for skills and employability, said: “Major regeneration and new housing schemes which continue to change Luton’s landscape are evidence of the further progress in the Luton Investment Framework’s aim to deliver long-term economic growth for the town. These developments mean a wide range of jobs in the construction industry becoming available and we need to ensure Luton people have all the right skills and training to fulfil these.
“It’s great to see such positive steps have already been made since the funding was announced and the scheme began, especially the training up of people who are usually underrepresented in these areas and the emphasis is on improving this even further.”
Phil Hobson, project director for VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier, said: “We’re thrilled to be part of this important skills hub that will bring vital skills to people local to Luton. With a well-documented skills crisis in the industry and the enormous amount of development planned for the town, it is important that we train and encourage as many people as possible to develop careers in this exciting sector.”
Stephen Radley, Director of Strategy and Policy at CITB said: “We are delighted to support the launch of the Luton Construction Skills Academy which will give more people the opportunity to start a career in construction. The Academy is one of 26 new on-site training hubs created by the Construction Skills Fund, which brings together employers and public funding to give high quality, onsite work experience to learners from many different backgrounds.”
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