Construction: Training

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th January 2023.

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Photo of Charlotte Nichols Charlotte Nichols Labour, Warrington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to help support the training of more (a) joiners and (b) plasterers.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Minister of State (Education)

The department’s skills reforms provide a ladder of opportunity that enables young people and adults to get good jobs and progress in their careers. This begins with the opportunities and social justice needed to access excellent education and skills training which lead to positive work outcomes.

We will deliver economic growth through building a skills system that is employer focused, high quality and fit for the future, and is flexible enough to lead to more people completing high-quality courses that meet employers’ needs. This includes supporting more people to complete an apprenticeship or a Higher Technical Qualification, rolling out more T levels, establishing our network of 21 Institutes of Technology and expanding our popular Skills Bootcamps and Free Courses for Jobs programmes.

This ambitious skills agenda is backed by £3.8 billion of investment over this Parliament. We are using this to expand and strengthen higher and further education, ensuring skills training is aligned to the needs of employers to enable communities to thrive.

With this investment, we are putting employers at the heart of our skills system, which is why we are working with industry to shape our training offers, creating more routes into skilled employment in key economic sectors, including construction.

Our high-quality apprenticeships are supporting people of all ages with the opportunity to earn and learn the skills needed to start, or progress in, an exciting career in the construction sector. Employers in the construction sector can access a range of high-quality apprenticeship standards to meet their skills needs, including the Level 2 Plasterer apprenticeship and the Level 3 Advanced carpentry and joinery apprenticeship.

T Levels are strengthening vocational options for young people finishing their GCSEs. These are two-year, technical qualifications designed with businesses and employers and are equivalent in size to three A levels. T Levels in Onsite Construction were introduced in 2021 and include an occupational specialism in Plastering.

The Free Courses for Jobs offer, which was launched in April 2021, allows eligible adults to access over 400 Level 3 qualifications (A-level equivalent) for free. Building and construction courses are available as part of this offer, including the Level 3 Diploma in Plastering.

Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills, with an offer of a job interview with an employer on completion. Skills Bootcamps in construction provide the opportunity to develop in-demand skills, including joinery and plastering.

High quality, careers information, advice and guidance is key to helping people to make informed decisions about their future, including being able to find out about and consider the different options, including those in construction, available to them.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is supporting schools and colleges to embed best practice in the delivery of careers information, advice and guidance, so young people are aware of the full range of training and careers available to them and have access to a broad range of employers and workplaces, including those in the construction sectors. This will be delivered through the national roll-out of Career Hubs, Career Leader training, and the Enterprise Adviser Network.

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