More than 60 business people from all over Devon and Somerset gathered at Sandy Park, Exeter on Monday to hear about the exciting opportunities that higher level apprenticeships create for workforce development in the construction sector.
They were attending ‘Building Tomorrow’s Workforce’, an event organised by Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service, which took a closer look at what the future holds for the workforce in the construction industry and offered solutions to the skills shortage in the South West.
The evening event included keynote speakers, networking opportunities and exhibition stands. The keynote speaker was Ian Bassett, Business Support Director at Midas Group Ltd; one of the region’s leading employers. He inspired the audience with his perspective on how the industry has made inroads to bridge the skills gaps over the last few years, and looked at the future landscape providing potential solutions for the short and long term.
With growth forecast in the South West area projected to be 50% higher than the UK average between 2018-2022 (CITB), 21 major live projects and 12 in the pipeline, the event addressed important questions being asked by industry observers about planning for tomorrow’s workforce.
Attracting new people into the industry was a common theme of the evening and the audience heard from the Atrium Studio in Devon. A new Studio School for students in Years 9-13 specialising in the Built Environment – the first of its kind in the South West. Four students from the school presented their stories of why they want to enter the sector and explained some of the exciting projects they are currently working on.
Fynn Aykroyd Projects Manager Apprentice at Arque based in Crediton, studying a Level 3 Construction in the Built Environment course at Exeter College shared his journey and his experience in the industry.
Fynn Aykroyd said:
“My ability and knowledge have grown dramatically over the last 8 months. I have many people to thank who have kindly supported and taught me throughout my apprenticeship. The person I need to thank the most is my boss, Bernard Keogh, the director at Arque. He has single handily shown me the skills of the job from beginning to end and has sculpted the Project Manager that I am now. I am thankful to be working alongside professionals with such talent, and I look forward to an exciting future and career ahead at Arque.”
The event demonstrated the importance of collaboration initiatives including Build Ex, Building Plymouth and the Shared Apprenticeship Service, and how these provide multiple benefits for those employers and organisations involved and the sector as a whole in the region.
Catherine Bullough, Local Manager South & SW England CITB explained the grants and other funding available, the restructuring of the organisation and the services they offer.
Gareth Moss, Serco’s Director for Employment, Skills and Enterprise, said:
“We’ve had great feedback from the delegates and the room was buzzing with enthusiasm. I think what really interested people was the combination of insight into future trends of the sector’s workforce and providing practical solutions that addressed these.”
Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service is delivered by Serco and co-financed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the European Social Fund.
Businesses can contact us for more details and to find out if they are eligible for funded training through Skills Support for the Workforce.