The task may seem big but it is achievable
The construction industry faces a significan’t challenge – more than 300,000 new homes need to be built each year to meet increasing demand!
At the recent Home Builders Federation Policy Conference, shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds spoke on the UK housing shortage and how to boost supply. The MP highlighted the skills gap as a notable barrier to meeting this target, but emphasised that it was not insurmountable. She said that a greater focus needed to be placed on jobs, apprenticeships and training, to help some of the 900,000 unemployed young people and thousands more soon-to-be school leavers get into the industry.
This argument was reflected in housing minister Kris Hopkins’ call on the industry to take up the challenge to build new homes. The recovery of the construction industry is about “jobs, wages and giving opportunities to young people”, he stated.
Whatever your political persuasion, there is little in this logic to be argued with. With the current high levels of youth unemployment, it seems common sense to help our young people gain the right skills to meet this high level of demand. Better education and training must, therefore, be part of the solution!
At Bucks UTC, our aim is to provide students with the right skills to get ahead in their chosen careers. We work with employer partners, such as housebuilder Taylor Wimpey, to offer courses that meet the skills requirements of local businesses.
The focus is on a well-rounded education with a technical specialism. Students study core GCSEs and A Levels alongside a level 2 or 3 qualification in construction or IT. They also gain real hand-on experience through projects with employers, so they leave the UTC with a first-hand understanding of the working world.
Business leaders often comments that students leave education unprepared for the working world. Many aren’t used to being managed, struggle with the longer working day or need to improve their problem solving and decision making skills. Consequently, these are all areas we work on as part of our curriculum.
Our aim is that no one should leave the UTC without a clear path in front of them, whether that’s into further study, employment or an apprenticeship. We know that that’s a big task but with the support of local employers alongside enthusiastic staff and students, we believe it’s a very achievable one.