further & higher education
housing & housing services
local government

Tackling the Construction Skills Shortage

further & higher education

housing & housing services

local government

08:45 - 15:40

Thursday 28 March 2019

Central London

This Forum provides participants with an excellent opportunity to examine the government’s latest strategy designed to close the skills gap across the construction sector workforce. Attendees will be updated on the Construction Sector Deal, as well as hear from leading policy figures who will outline what more can be done to support the sector through developing apprenticeship opportunities and partnering with the private sector. In addition, leading practitioners will share guidance on how to tackle the skills gap by attracting young people into the sector, widening access and utilising technology to upskill the current workforce.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Housing and Further Education sector, as well as the Local Government and the wider Construction/Infrastructure Sector.

Typical job titles will include:

  • Chief Executives
  • Project Managers
  • Strategic Planning Managers
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Infrastructure Delivery Managers
  • Heads of Infrastructure
  • Heads of Human Resources
  • Apprenticeship and Training Managers
  • Heads of Recruitment
  • Personnel Officers
  • Careers & Apprenticeship Managers
  • Learning and Development Leads
  • Cabinet Members for Housing
  • Housing Development Officers

This event is also open to the Private Sector to encourage networking and discussion.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Louise Wyman, General Manager Engagement, Homes England
  • Steve Radley, Policy Director, Construction Industry Training Board
  • Brian Berry, Chief Executive, Federation of Master Builders (FMB) 
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Joe Dromey, Senior Research Fellow – Skills & Local Government, The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) (invited)


Morning Keynote: Outlining the Government's Vision for the Construction Workforce

  • Outlining the next steps for investing £34 million to scale up construction training models and support the delivery of 1.5 million new homes by 2022, as outlined in the Government’s Construction Sector Deal
  • Examining how the government will partner with CBI and Trades Union Congress to establish a National Retraining Partnership, and the impact it will have on tackling skills shortages in the construction sector
  • Sharing guidance on how housing associations, further education and training providers can access the £64 million worth of investment for digital and construction training, as part of the National Retraining Partnership
  • Highlighting the next steps for the implementation of new Construction T levels by 2020, and how the vocational qualifications will support the industry by offering high-quality work placements

Fergus Harradence, Deputy Director – Construction, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (invited)


Special Keynote: Supporting the Housing Sector to Boost Construction Skills and Increase Housing Supply

  • Outlining how Homes England partners with CITB and the National House-Building Council to expand housing and construction skills, including a proposal to create a centre for construction site managers and assistants
  • Examining Homes England’s strategic partnerships with eight housing associations to deliver over 14,000 affordable homes across the country, including the role expanding skills and apprentices will have on meeting this goal
  • Discussing future collaborative opportunities between Local Authorities and Housing Associations, including their roles in raising construction skills across the sector and boosting housing supply
  • Highlighting the major challenges facing the housing sector due to the construction skills gap and the next steps being taken to overcome them

Louise Wyman, General Manager Engagement, Homes England (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Establishing a Skills and Training Centre to Boost Local Construction Skills

  • Sharing expertise on successfully bidding and obtaining £1 million worth of investment over four years from the Lloyd’s Bank Construction Skills Investment Fund to build a new local training centre
  • Assessing how the Skills Centre works successfully in conjunction with the council’s brokerage service Workplace, providing a better pathway for young people to enrol in the Skills Centre, helping to tackle the skills crisis facing the sector
  • Analysing the impact the Skills Training Centre has had on developing local talent within the construction sector across Newham
  • Highlighting the challenges and lessons learnt from working in partnership with a private developer to establish the Infrastructure Skills Centre

Councillor Lakmini Shah, Cabinet Member for Work and Skills and Domestic Violence Prevention, Newham Council (invited)


Case Study: Transforming Construction Skills Through Technology Focused Training

  • Outlining the process of partnering with the Welsh Joint Education Committee to establish the UK’s first ever Level 3 Applied Diploma in Professional Construction Practice (PCP)
  • Demonstrating how technology can be embedded at the heart of a construction skills-based qualification, including the use of drones, laser scanning technology, artificial intelligence and virtual reality
  • Examining the impact the new PCP qualification will have on transforming outdated perceptions of the industry and prepare young people for progression into further construction qualifications
  • Sharing guidance on how NPTC College established a partnership with private sector partners to ensure construction professionals were in the classroom to help deliver the course

Mark Dacey, CEO and Principal, NPTC Group of Colleges (invited)


Case Study: Effectively Recruiting Apprentices - A Housing Association Perspective

  • Outlining the methods undertaken by Clarion Housing to effectively attract young people into the housing construction industry, including working with local partners
  • Analysing the impact of short accredited pre-apprenticeships construction training schemes as a career pathway and how these schemes can be implemented across the sector
  • Sharing guidance and best practice examples on establishing a successful apprenticeship mentoring programme to ensure all apprentices receive structured one to one support and stay within the sector
  • Highlighting the challenges faced when trying to attract young professionals into the sector, including the lessons learnt and the measures implemented as a result

Neil McCall, Chief Executive Officer, Clarion Housing Association (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Creating Apprenticeship Opportunities Throughout The Housing and Construction Sector

  • Outlining how CITB work collaboratively with the Institute for Apprenticeships and key trade associations to ensure the sector has access to accurate information about new apprenticeship standards and the Apprenticeship Levy
  • Sharing CITB’s models for supporting apprentices in small employers, enabling it to use levy funding to support the development of construction skills across the supply chain
  • Examining the impact of promoting careers in construction through a single industry platform and portal to support construction careers
  • Analysing the progress of creating 25,000 construction sector apprenticeships a year by 2020, including the key lessons learnt from the process so far

Steve Radley, Policy Director, Construction Industry Training Board (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Collaborating with the Private Sector to Boost Skills Across the Housing Sector

  • Examining the role small SME developers have on supporting skills delivery and the next steps they can take in closing the skills gap across the sector
  • Identifying ways in which local authorities can support SME housing suppliers through supporting investment in skills and assisting small developers acquire sites for development
  • Addressing the construction skills shortage by assisting building firms in introducing apprenticeship schemes and enhancing collaboration between house-builders, subcontractors and the public sector to boost housing supply
  • Analysing the government’s new Construction Sector Deal, including the potential impact this can have on SME developers and the housing sector

Brian Berry, Chief Executive, Federation of Master Builders (FMB) (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Implementing a Regional Approach to Tackling the Construction Skills Gap

  • Examining how South East LEP plan to create 200,000 new jobs and build an additional 100,000 homes across the South East by 2021, including the role apprentices and constructions skills will have on achieving this
  • Outlining how the LEP invest in and support further higher education and training providers to significantly improve provisions and help upskill the current workforce across the region
  • Working successfully with local colleges to reduce the provision of under-subscribed courses and establish specialist courses which reflect the current and future skills need for the construction sector
  • Analysing the impact of South East LEP’s Skills Strategy 2018 – 2023 on addressing the widening spectrum of local construction skills needed and outlining the next steps for the strategy

Christian Brodie, Chair, South West Local Enterprise Partnership (invited)


Case Study: Boosting Skills and Opportunities Across London Through a Construction Academy

  • Outlining the process of establishing the London Construction Academy as part of the Mayor’s Skills and Adult Education Strategy – Skills for Londoners strategy
  • Sharing how the Academy will work as a network to bring together construction skills providers across London to boost collaboration and help close the skills gap
  • Highlighting the Mayor’s Construction Academy ‘quality mark’ as a method to identify high-quality construction skills training provision, as well as pathway to bid for funding to better skills training funding
  • Examining the next steps for the £114 million Skills for Londoners Capital Funding, aimed at further education colleges and other skills providers to improve equipment and facilities across London

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council and Chair, Mayor’s Construction Skills Advisory Group (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

According to a report from the Office for National Statistics, 32% of the current construction workforce are over the age of 50, with a further 58% aged between 25-49, and only 10% are under the age of 25. Furthermore, The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) estimates that the sector will need to recruit and train 158,000 workers between 2018 and 2022, in order to keep up with the current levels of demand across the country.

In response, the government announced the Construction Sector Deal in July 2018 to help raise workforce standards, close the widening skills gap and drive economic growth across the UK. The deal is set to support the delivery of 1.5 million new homes by 2022, by investing £34 million into innovative construction training models across the country. Furthermore, the government is set to establish a country-wide £64 million National Retraining Partnership, which will target skills shortages in the sector. Alongside this, retraining and investment, the implementation of the new Construction T levels and apprenticeship standards will ensure young people entering the sector receive high-quality training and work placements from the earliest possible stage in their careers.

The construction sector faces a double-barrel challenge of ensuring workers have the skills needed to effectively work in the sector which is becoming heavily reliant on digital technologies, while also continuing to recruit and retain enough people with traditional skills to replace those leaving. The onus now falls upon the Housing Sector, Further Education institutions, Local Authorities and Private Sector partners across the UK to seize the opportunities presented by the government to raise standards, close the skills gap and consequently increase productivity.

Failure to act on these measures and establish a pipeline of future talent for the industry, as well as up-skill the current workforce, through education, training and apprenticeships opportunities, will result not just in a national construction standstill, but will also negatively impact upon the UK economy.

Louise Wyman, General Manager Engagement, Homes England

Louise is Head of Strategy at Homes England, responsible for increasing the supply of well-designed housing in sustainable environments across England. Louise is a Planning Committee Member for London Legacy Development Corporation, a Built Environment Expert for Design Council Cabe and was previously an Executive Director of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.

Louise is a Chartered Surveyor and a Landscape Architect experienced at working with the public and private sector to deliver great places. Louise is an Ambassador for Harvard University where she undertook her Masters work and now supports the exchange of planning, design and development innovation between academia and industry.

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