An exciting new facility, offering essential training and on-site construction experience to job seekers and construction diploma students across South East Wales, has opened.
The Onsite Construction Academy South East Wales has been established with industry funding from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Onsite Experience Commission. The project is a collaboration between local authorities, education and training providers and construction partners in the region.
Located on the site of the former Eastern high school off Newport Road, Rumney – the largest development site in Cardiff Council’s Cardiff Living house building partnership with Wates Residential, the new Construction Academy will help tackle the skills gap within the construction industry.
More than 700 people seeking a career in construction from all parts of the community will be able to access site-based work placements and training over the three years and employment or apprenticeship opportunities will be made available to more than 200 people. Additionally, the Construction Academy will facilitate onsite experiences for over 700 construction diploma students to make them employment and site-ready before accessing construction job vacancies.
The initiative seeks toencourage many more people to consider construction as a career,including individuals from under-represented groups in the industry, such as women and individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds.
The Construction Academy will facilitate numerous opportunities for trainees to gain appropriate onsite experience and become employment and site-ready. The Council and Wates Residential are building more than 200 new homes on the site over the next three years as part of a highly innovative, low carbon development.
Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, Cllr Chris Weaver said: “The construction industry is currently experiencing a skills shortage across the board and there is a disconnect between higher education qualifications in construction-related disciplines and the level of site readiness students are gaining. We are extremely pleased to have this new facility in the region to address these issues and support individuals right across South East Wales to gain practical experience of this industry.
“The onsite Academy will help to bridge the current skills gap by providing access to high quality provision on a live construction site, making participants aware of the expectations and protocols needed on site. The centre will help increase people’s work-readiness, better preparing them for meeting the needs of employers and ensuring a pipeline of locally-trained employment-ready workers for the sector.
“Our Into Work Advice service already work closely with construction partners in the region so we are looking to build on the wealth of expertise and experience we have across all the organisations involved in this exciting initiative to ensure individuals get the right support they need to secure sustained employment in construction.”
Victoria Walsh, CITB Customer Engagement Manager for South East Wales, said: “Construction has a key role to play in leading Britain’s post-Covid economic recovery, so we’re delighted that the opening of this new academy will help people to pursue a rewarding career in the sector. We’re working with our partners in Wales to invest in construction and ensure that both employers and workers have the skills they need for the industry to thrive and meet its ambitious targets.”
The Council’s SEWSCAP3 Framework Manager, Chris Mclellan, said: “With Construction continuing to act as a key sector in a post Covid Recovery, the ability for Contractors to deliver on targeted recruitment and training social value contractual commitments via the hub accessing live construction sites will be a real game changer.”
Edward Rees, Regional Director for Wates Residential, said: “As a key partner in this important project, Wates Residential will be assisting with site visits, inductions, work experience, apprenticeships and employment opportunities, and having the Onsite Construction Academy at the former Eastern High site gives us a golden opportunity to hire people directly from the surrounding community.
“Everyone deserves a great place to live, and we need people with skills to make this happen. This is why the academy at Eastern High is so important, and we would like to encourage anyone interested in construction to take advantage of this facility to learn more about it, especially those from under-represented groups in the industry.”