Fast track apprenticeship programme for house builders launched to address skills gap

A new, fast-track modern apprenticeship programme to attract people of all ages to pursue a rewarding career in the housebuilding sector will be piloted on Monday, March 4, the first day of Scotland’s Apprenticeship Week.

Leading house builder and provider of offsite construction solutions, Stewart Milne Group has led the development of the programme to help meet the skills gap in the construction industry.

The group has been working with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) on the first Modern Apprenticeship (MA) pathway in Construction Site Supervision – Residential Development as part of their commitment to help develop a sustainable talent pipeline for the industry.

The pathway offers apprentices the opportunity to train as construction site supervisors with a view to becoming the site managers of the future.

Following wide-ranging consultation with housebuilders, trade bodies, unions, sector skills councils, training providers and support from the CITB, the additional pathway into the MA has been specifically designed for the housebuilding industry and will be rolled out for use by all housebuilders to attract trainees or develop skills in the existing workforce.

The implementation of the MA pathway comes at a crucial time for the industry as according to Skills Development Scotland, there is a shortfall in managerial and specialist skills in construction and there are due to be as many as 31,000 employees retiring from the Scottish construction industry in the next decade.

Susan Hudson, learning and development manager at Stewart Milne Group said “Initially, we were exploring the design of a programme to develop our own assistant site managers. We quickly realised that our approach could help other housebuilders and decided to take a proactive lead on this to the benefit of the wider industry.

“Taking an industry-demand led approach, we approached Skills Development Scotland, Homes for Scotland and the CITB to see if the programme could be accredited and funded for the industry. We’re really proud to now be launching the pilot programme.”

Ms Hudson added that “As well as being a great opportunity for those currently working in the industry who are looking for career progression, the programme will also be used to market the benefits to school leavers and those undertaking college based studies, who don’t necessarily want to go to University, but still want to have the opportunity to develop a professional career in a fantastic industry.”

The framework allows an individual to gain the MA using an SVQ in Construction Site Supervision, coupled with an industry recognised supervisory qualification – the ILM Diploma in Management and Leadership Practice for the Construction and Built Environment sector. Participating employers will deliver on-the-job learning relevant to their own company which means the programme can be fully tailored to support each housebuilder.

Paul Allford, standards and qualifications policy manager from CITB said “This additional new route, using the Scottish Modern Apprenticeship in Site Supervision, will allow employees to progress to become the site managers of the future. The programme will allow school, college and university leavers, as well as those progressing their careers in construction, to access a tailored programme which will equip them with the skills for a managerial career in the housebuilding sector.”

Ms Hudson added “The launch and content of this programme will both increase the volume and improve the calibre of individuals who become site managers within the housebuilding industry.

Companies are able to adapt the generic programme to incorporate their own cultural and business model as part of an overall internal skills academy to attract, engage and retain staff.”

Impressed by the progress achieved by Stewart Milne Group, Edinburgh based house builder, Miller Homes, has agreed to place two members of staff onto the pilot programme.

Alan Cadenhead, group HR and employee development manager at Miller Homes said “The Modern Apprenticeship provides an excellent opportunity to further develop individuals and we are delighted to be involved in the pilot programme. We have made nominations from our current trainees to participate in the pilot in parallel with our own Development Academy training programme and we will look to integrate the programme into our own development plans for future trainees joining the company.”

Stewart Milne Group is currently training 48 apprentices and trainees, including civil engineers, quantity surveyors, sales consultants, architectural and design technicians as well as joiners, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers and painters. The award-winning group is committed to attracting young people into the industry and providing the best training, mentoring and learning experience to nurture and support their development.

Alan Cadenhead from Miller Homes, Paul Alford from CITB, Susan Hudson from Stewart Milne Group

Alan Cadenhead from Miller Homes, Paul Alford from CITB, Susan Hudson from Stewart Milne Group

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