David Boyden was promoted to director of the National Construction College in June.
He talks to Joanna Booth
How long have you been involved in training?
I joined as a plant instructor at the Bircham Newton campus in 1978 ? it was almost 27 years to the day later that I became director, so it's taken a while to work my way up. My background was in major civil engineering works.
I was a crane operator on the construction of the MPs' car park below the Houses of Parliament.
What aims do you have in your new role?
My focus is to drive the commercial aspect of the college.
We cu r rent ly generate £9 million a year from full-cost courses. It sounds like a lot of money but over the next five years we'd like to increase that significantly. We'll build on areas of expertise we already have. We have set up a dedicated division for health and safety training and are the largest provider to the construction sector in the UK. But there's still room to do more.
Will you be pushing any new areas of training?
Over the years our mandate to do or not do management and leadership training has been decided by the chairman. In the early '80s we opened a centre focusing on that, which closed in the '90s. We are redeveloping it.
We're also pulling together our graduate training and looking at becoming a base for training assessors. The training currently available tends to be generic and there's no major centre, so over the next few years we'd like to develop that.
The NCC has grown 30 per cent over the past 10 years ? will you continue that growth rate?
Yes, we'd like to keep that going. At the moment we train 30,000 people a year and in the next five years we want to push that to over 40,000. We have four centres in the UK, in Norfolk, Birmingham, Kent and Glasgow, and there's a possibility two more will open.
Wales has no construction college at the moment and there is also a gap in the north-west.
We also want to upgrade our current facilities.
A CITB-ConstructionSkills report claims that 86,000 people need to join the industry every year to keep up with demand.
Is this feasible?
It's a challenging target. Currently there's a lot of labour coming in from abroad, which is helping. The drive to attract more workers and train them properly needs to come from both the Government and industry.
The Government's role must be in providing funding to back initiatives up. We're presenting our case to the Learning and Skills Council for more money.
Will you be involved in National Construction Week in October?
We bring young people of 14 to 16 years old into the college for 'taster' experience. They need to be made aware of the exciting range of occupations in the industry.