Future home builders are being fast-tracked in Leeds

Future home builders are being fast-tracked in Leeds

A new scheme launched with Leeds College of Building is creating jobs and closing a skills gap by fast-tracking construction college leavers into the home building industry.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) funded “boot camp” pilot has been developed by the Home Builders Federation’s (HBF) Home Building Skills Partnership, working in tandem with Leeds College of Building, as well as five further education providers across the country.

The initial pilot is focusing on carpentry and joinery, dry lining and bricklaying, which are among the most challenging job areas to recruit to.

The boot camp in Leeds focused on bricklaying and all the initial candidates have now secured employment, with three going to work for housebuilding giant Persimmon.

The programme is a two to six-week on-site training course to test participant competency, enhance their skills, improve speed to support their future employment with home building firms, and bridge the gap between leaving college and the world of work.

The participants are matched with potential home builders and their sub-contractors with a view to starting on site as paid employees, subject to assessment at the end of the training.

They will also receive CITB funding to achieve their NVQ for their CSCS blue skilled card.

Ian Hirst, faculty director of Construction Crafts at Leeds College of Building, said: “As the UK’s only specialist construction further education college, it is a huge privilege to be involved in this project with the HBF’s Home Building Skills Partnership. 

“The programme is designed to offer our students, who have completed a two-year bricklaying course, an additional six weeks of training that focusses on developing their speed and accuracy, so they have the specific skillsets that the home building sector requires.

“Creating this direct link with national employers is immediately benefitting our students on other programmes, and we are building on that momentum here through our engagement with homebuilders.”

Jenny Herdman, director of the Home Building Skills Partnership, said: “Colleges play a key role in getting people trained in specialist trades, but we know that it’s not always enough to secure them employment. 

“Nationally, the overall retention rate of construction college leavers moving into their specialist trades is a major challenge, and we need them in home building.

“As an industry, we need to get better at transitioning college leavers from construction courses into employment. This fast track programme aims to get more site ready people entering the home building industry and so help increase industry capacity.

“Ultimately, we want to see an established pathway for new entrants from full-time courses to the home building sector.”