A partnership of education providers has been awarded £400,000 to address skills shortage in the construction industry.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund will provide the sum to the Gateshead College, Northumbria University and Derby College to launch the Bridge Project.
Steve Logan, project consultant at the Gateshead College Skills Academy for Construction, said: “We are delighted to be awarded the funding from HEFCE and to be able to launch the Bridge project alongside Northumbria University and Derby College.
“This project is set to benefit those seeking professional, technical and management jobs by providing ways to encourage people from all backgrounds, sexes and ethnicities into higher education and a career in the construction industry. We want to address why construction degree courses aren’t attracting students from a range of backgrounds. This will, in turn, also benefit employers by providing more fresh talent to meet the upcoming demand for skilled and professionally qualified graduates.
“It’s a great example of how Gateshead College is taking its strong links with employers, listening to their concerns and then working in close partnership to find innovative solutions for complex skills issues.”
Key stakeholders including current and prospective construction and built environment students, apprentices and trainees, industry professionals and those who chose not to continue a career in the industry will provide evidence and input for the research programme.
The partners will investigate and publish guidelines and solutions to help tackle the issue.
HEFCE chief executive, Madeleine Atkins, said: “The significant response from higher education providers to this funding call demonstrates their commitment to ensuring all students benefit from a vibrant, inclusive, world-class higher education experience.
“Funding this programme will support real progress towards closing the unacceptable differences in outcomes between groups of students. We look forward to working with providers to make sure this targeted, evidence-led investment maximises outcomes for students — contributing to improved productivity and social mobility and, of course, individual opportunities.”
The latest move follows the publication of the Construction Skills Network report, which concluded that 179,000 UK construction jobs will need to be filled from 2017-2021.
* For more information on the UK construction market, visit the Construction Intelligence Center Report Store.