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Construction adds to the curriculum

A new diploma in construction is aimed at getting school leavers into the industry, says Bruce Boughton

Our industry requires 88,400 new workers every year to help us meet the UK’s construction commitments. So how do we find them and more importantly, how do we help them develop the skills they need?

The answer comes in the form of the new diploma in Construction and the Built Environment, probably the best recruitment tool for the industry in decades.

We’re proud to have been one of the first firms to sign up to developing this new qualification alongside ConstructionSkills. It is aimed at pupils in 14-19 education and will be launched in September.

At Lovell Partnerships we have a strong history of working with schools, so the introduction of the diploma was the logical next step for us, in helping students really understand our industry.

New skills and thinking

The Construction and the Built Environment diploma is an exciting development for education and the industry as it is both academically demanding and practically focused, giving students a real insight and taster of the business.

The diploma will teach young people personal, learning and thinking skills and will require them to demonstrate numeracy and literacy - vital assets to help them progress into the professional roles that we so desperately need to fill in years to come, such as quantity surveyors and site managers.

Pupils can take the diploma at three levels - Foundation (five GCSEs); Higher (seven GCSEs) and Advanced (three-and-a-half A levels) with a chance to ‘supersize’ it to become an Extended Diploma (up to four-and-a-half A levels) from 2011.

At Lovell we have become actively involved with the diploma on a national and local level and plan to give careers talks to pupils.

Representatives from the various job roles will regularly attend schools and colleges to hold lectures on topics relevant to the industry, such as the modern methods of construction. We will also be offering students work placements at our various sites.

Back to school

To other firms, I say get involved, you can do something - from offering work experience, to teaching support or providing site visits to students on the course.

As a transient industry the only way we can really benefit from this new qualification is to establish long-term relationships with schools and colleges to ensure students have the facilities and experience to complete the course successfully.

I strongly recommend employers join one of the 130 existing consortia or sign up to the next wave by getting in contact with their local authority.

Be open to approaches from employer engagement teams, as the more businesses get involved, the better chance we have of creating a workforce that is ready for the new challenges of the 21st century.

This is a great opportunity for employers large and small across the country to really contribute to a teenager’s education and to create a workforce that will help us build a better Britain.

Bruce Boughton is the people development manager at Lovell Partnership