With apprentices and house building top of the agenda at the state opening of Parliament, UK Construction Week has announced a string of training focused content at the show this October.
Outlining the new Conservative government’s plans for the coming parliamentary term, the Queen revealed ambitious targets during her speech last week, which include building 200,000 starter homes over the next five years, as well as creating 3million new apprenticeships.
While construction industry commentators have, for the most part, welcomed the renewed focus this will bring to the industry, others – including the Federation of Master Builders – have warned that the targets are inextricably linked, as without meeting the apprenticeships goal, the industry will not have the capacity to deliver such a high volume of housing construction.
Recognising the growing significance of this issue over the coming years, UK Construction Week has placed a strong focus on training and development at the exhibition, with several skills-based sessions on the main seminar stage. In addition, the Homebuilding and Site Zones at the Build Show, one of the nine events to make up UK Construction Week, will look at the relationship between apprenticeships and house building in more depth.
The Homebuilding theatre will kick things off with a keynote panel discussion asking how the industry can improve traditional skills training to overcome shortages. Led by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and joined by Andy George, Head of Talent Management at Barratt Developments and Seb Balcombe, Planning Manager at K10, the discussion will examine how builders can work more closely with schools and colleges to recruit entry level candidates – as well as looking at the impact of alternatives solutions, such as off-site construction.
Later that morning, Andy George will lead another session looking at best practice approaches to apprenticeships in housing and will share some of the insights he has gained during his time at Barratt Developments.
In the Site Zone, the CITB will present a masterclass, sharing everything SMEs need to know about how apprenticeships can help their business. The session will look at how to start the process, designing an effective programme, choosing the right apprentices and making sense of the various schemes, funding and grants available.
Nathan Garnett, Show Director, commented: “Apprenticeships will be absolutely critical to achieving the government’s ambitious starter home targets over the next few years – but this is not just an issue for the house building industry. Finding skilled labour is a struggle faced by the whole construction industry right now, but many people are unsure how to go about dealing with the issue. We hope that by providing a platform in which to debate the problem, share solutions and identify best practice, will go a long way to helping visitors and exhibitors start to overcome this challenge.”
Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week will be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 11 October (with the trade only days from 6 – 8 October) the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors with an expected audience of 55,000 visitors.
Visitors will be able to attend the Build Show incorporating Civils Expo, Grand Designs Live, Timber Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2015, Kitchens & Bathroom Live, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2015 and Smart Buildings 2015.