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Opinion: Stepping up our game on training

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Opinion: Stepping up our game on training

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Education

Opinion: Stepping up our game on training Opinion: Stepping up our game on training

Bringing a more comprehensive approach to training is the best way forward for young people and employers, explains Iain Gambardella, economic development manager at Lakehouse.

There are now thousands of young people who successfully complete apprenticeships every year. But despite the successes of those who undertake them, it can still be difficult to get young people enthusiastic about housing and construction, and we’re still lacking enough people with the right skills to meet the talent shortage.

Boosting apprenticeship numbers remains an important goal, but if we want to see more young people making a real impact we should be looking to a more holistic approach to training.

It’s vital to understand that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ model for school leavers. Those who are determined to build a career in construction may do brilliantly as an apprentice. But what about those people who don’t feel confident about their skills, interests and commitment at such an early stage?

Moreover, there are options out there which really emphasise the dynamism and variety of our sector. Making the best of Government initiatives and improving collaboration between employers and training providers can and should open up more diverse opportunities.

Taking advantage of these widens access and gives young people a chance to choose the training that’s right for them. It also allows employers to identify their best candidates through multiple channels and deliver on their social value commitments.

We want to challenge the perceptions of the industry and engage new talent. Trade apprenticeships, new non-trade apprenticeships, traineeships, work placements and other training need to work together to give a more accurate picture of our industry and ensure that the best recruits are entering employment at the right level.

The benefits of apprenticeships have been widely discussed, but there is still further potential within the scheme. Last year, for example, Lakehouse launched The Advanced Apprenticeship Programme (TAAP). It provides housing and construction focused apprenticeships, but in the less cyclical parts of the business – reflecting the diversity of the industry through roles in bid support, HR, ICT, quantity surveying, estimating and design, for example.

Neither housing and construction nor apprenticeships have a reputation for glamour. But schemes like TAAP show that there are fast-moving, competitive sectors across different disciplines.

For those not ready for a full-time role, the Government’s traineeship scheme, a ‘pre-apprenticeship’ programme, could be an option. As well as providing work experience, traineeships combine trade-focused teaching with English, maths and employment skills training, giving candidates the confidence to move on to the next stage of their career and commit to a specialism.

Developing long-term skills is what will define the success of these schemes. Quality training makes confident employees, so recruits that can excel early are highly sought after. If we want to enthuse, inspire and fill the construction and housing skills gap, shouldn’t we be providing a variety of options that speak up for our industry?

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