£1.5 million fund to support North East’s construction skills shortage

One of the region’s leading colleges has been awarded funds to help create new employment opportunities in the construction, engineering and built environment sector.

Gateshead College has successfully secured £1.5million in funding to establish BuildNE, a new initiative designed to enable long-term unemployed people across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland enter the workforce. BuildNE will tackle the barriers people face to entering further education, training and the workplace. One of the key goals of the scheme is to provide greater access to sustainable and secure employment opportunities.

The project is also designed to meet a chronic skills shortage in roles such as labourers, joiners, maintenance workers, groundworkers, and road/rail infrastructure engineers. It’s specifically intended to support those aged 16 and above struggling to find jobs in the construction sector, especially females and those from BAME communities looking to enter or return to the industry.

Steve Logan, Project Director at Gateshead College, said: “We need to do more to create training opportunities for people to enter the North East construction sector so that we can address the large skills shortage across the industry.

“BuildNE provides a package of support, training, education and information that enables people currently unemployed and economically inactive to find a way to work, a way to return to employment or a new career direction.

“The project will not only create specific job opportunities for those who need them most, it will also help employers with skills development, providing workers with the appropriate training and skillset to carry out the job required.

“We have well-established and strong working relationships with some of the region’s biggest construction employers.

“This, combined with our ability and experience to enable people to learn new skills, new trades and give them access to appropriate qualifications, means we can help people who are struggling to find employment and provide a solution to the construction skills shortage the region faces.”

BuildNE includes the provision of advice sessions, taster sessions and training courses that deliver a broad range of work-ready skills for the construction, engineering and property sectors. Through the project, people will gain access to general and specialist skills learning, specific courses, work placements, accredited qualifications guaranteed interviews and access to apprenticeships and jobs.

Steve added: “The construction industry has developed rapidly in the last decade, with many more modern methods of construction now being used.

“Green technologies and low carbon initiatives are a priority in creating more efficient and environmentally friendly buildings, homes and transport networks.

“As such, skillsets have evolved and through BuildNE we can enable people to learn relevant skills, quickly, and provide real-world work experience across the construction industry, working alongside construction, property and engineering firms to support engagement and progression.”

Gateshead College has created nine new job roles to facilitate the success of the project and ensure it meets its objectives.

For more information about BuildNE, visit: https://www.gateshead.ac.uk/im-unemployed/buildne