College leavers not ready to start in construction

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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National contractor Seddon is calling for a revolution in training to stop youngsters “stagnating” on courses which fail to equip them with basic construction skills.

Seddon recently received 870 applications for the 70 apprenticeships it expects to create over the next 12 months.

Nearly half were from students who have already studied for a college diploma or who are currently on a college course.

But the company fears that many students are not ready to work in the industry at the end of their course.

Seddon now wants to work more closely with colleges by providing paid work placements for students which would enable them to develop the industry experience needed to be ‘job-ready’.

But the colleges it has already approached with the idea fear it would affect their funding.

Nicola Hodkinson, director of business services for Seddon, said:  “We are not unhappy that the colleges should get money for training people. But for us, the issue is that if we take someone on from a college course, they are not ‘job-ready’.

“It’s not a question of someone joining us and finishing their training on site – we are effectively having to start from scratch with them.

“An alternative would be to actually start funding the industry for training, not just the colleges.

“Our solution was to speak to a number of colleges offering to provide paid work placements which would allow students to work towards gaining NVQ qualifications, something which colleges do not deliver as part of the Construction Diploma qualification.

“For us, the young person being trained should be the number one priority. At a time when the industry is shouting about a skills shortage, thousands of young people on college courses are stagnating and are not ready to get jobs.

“We would be interested in knowing how many finish their college course and then go on to work in the industry.

“This is something that the colleges can’t – or won’t – tell us. Yet it’s the industry that will be on the backfoot, not the colleges, if the current situation continues.

“The danger is that if this recession ends, say in 2015, we will not have the people in place needed to cope with the upturn.”

 

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