Weston College is set to play a lead role in tackling the construction skills shortage by opening a multi-million pound training centre.
The Weston College Construction Training Centre, completed by Midas Construction, opens in May and aims to offer training in seven key areas of training – plant, health and safety, scaffolding, highway and groundworks, warehousing (e.g. forklift training) and apprenticeships.
The state-of-the-art training centre has been created in response to the growing demand for a trained and skills construction workforce in the region. The industry-specific training it provides has been designed with employers’ needs in mind, and will be available on request, rather than fitting into the traditional academic year.
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of the Weston College Group said: “The Construction Training Centre is a big step into commercial training and starts an exciting chapter for us.
“Over the last ten years, we’ve built strong relationships with employers to develop our apprenticeship provision. But we’ve recognised, more and more, the need to deliver training at the point of need – not only for school leavers during the academic year.
“The Construction Training Centre means employers can come to us at any time for short courses, top-up courses, and to up-skill staff who are taking on new roles.”
“This month we launched the new website – www.construction-training-centre.co.uk, which enables people to easily navigate between the seven key areas of training.
“It’s also designed to make it as quick and simple as possible to book and pay for the more basic training online. This includes non-practical, class based, one-day courses – for instance, Site Safety Plus, Health and Safety Awareness, and Driver CPC courses.” This training centre has been made possible through the efforts of Weston College in partnership with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and North Somerset Council.
The financial investment has been provided by the College match-funding a successful bid for £3.3m funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority.
Chair of the West of England LEP, Prof Steve West, said: “We’re really pleased to support the fantastic new Construction Training Centre at Weston College. This will help to equip our current and future construction workforce with the skills they need to drive forward the building of new homes, business premises and infrastructure as our region grows. It will also help them to secure better career prospects and make the most of the opportunities available right here in the West of England.”
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “Construction is a key contributor to our region’s growing economy. It’s clear that there are huge opportunities here and we need to continue to provide the right skills to sustain the industry. The West of England Combined Authority has committed to working with colleges, councils and businesses to help the construction industry fill the estimated 82,500 jobs that will be created by 2036. The new Construction Training Centre at Weston College is a great example how we are addressing that challenge. It will help prepare young people, apprentices and higher education students for successful careers in the construction sector.”
Derek Quinn, Executive director for Midas Construction, said: “We are delighted to have created a much-needed training centre which will benefit students and the wider construction industry for many years to come. Midas is passionate about supporting the training and development of our staff and the communities we work in so we are proud to help develop a highly skilled and highly-trained workforce for the future.”