Sheffield has been awarded £715,000 to lead the challenge of tackling the skills shortage within the construction industry.
The grant, from the Department for Education’s Construction Skills Fund, will enable the council to create a local training hub, Building Block, scheduled to open fully on 29 March.
The aim is to train up to 650 people with an expected 250 local jobs being created by 31 March 2020.
Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Educations and Skills said:
“The investment into the new hub provides a wonderful opportunity for local people in the city to learn new skills and begin a new career in the construction industry.
“Not only does The Building Block scheme provide people with very desirable skills, they are also gaining crucial work experience in order to provide them with the very best start into their new career.”
The initiative will operate from The Building Block Hub, situated next to the major Sheffield Housing Company (SHC) developments at Manor Boot, in S2.
SHC is Sheffield City Council’s joint venture development company, established with private sector construction partner Keepmoat Homes and Great Places Housing Group in 2011. Since then, Sigma Capital and energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE have joined the drive to improve the quality and choice of housing across the city, while creating jobs, encouraging investment and supporting local communities.
It is currently working on the second phase of a 25 year plan to build 2,300 new affordable homes. To date 600 have been completed, 60 apprentices employed, 500 jobs created and more than £80 million spent with local suppliers.
Councillor Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety said:
“Our ambition is to build more than 10,000 new homes in Sheffield, by the public and private sector over the next 5 years. We need skilled people to meet the demand and what better way to do this by offering training to Sheffield people.
“Sheffield Housing Company is a partnership to help us deliver some of the new homes that we need; all part of our plan to make sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home.”
The Manor Boot area is part of this programme and includes new homes for sale – at the East Hill Gardens (S2 3PS) and Eclipse (S2 1QT) developments – and for private rent at Prince’s Gardens (S2 1EU).
In order to be fully operational by the end of March, The Building Block project has been preparing since January 2019 and has already provided on-site placements to 35 local people aiming to start a career in construction.
As skilled tradesmen will be in high demand, local people will have the opportunity to gain a two week construction training course covering disciplines such as bricklaying, decorating, electrical, joinery, plastering, plumbing and roofing.
Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of CITB, said:
“The Construction Skills Fund can be a genuine game-changer for both the construction industry and the individuals being trained. We have a massive need for home-grown talent and these projects will bring thousands of new people into our sector, giving them the crucial onsite experience they need to start a career in construction.”
Participants who successfully complete this training will get a two week work experience placement on-site, working alongside subcontractors on the various SHC new build sites in order to achieve CSCS accreditation – making them construction site ready.