How Adam Johnson of Learning and Skills Council is on a mission to train 20,000 construction workers
How did you get involved with the Learning and Skills Council?
After I graduated in June 2002 I signed up with temping agencies and was placed at the LSC doing data entry. They kept extending my job and I stayed with them until March 2003, when I moved to the workforce development team.

What's a workforce development team?
It's all about promoting projects that develop the workforce's skills. We're not just targeting young people, we're trying to promote adult learning, too. For example, there's a lot of demand for plumbing courses at the moment. And we're encouraging innovative ways of improving people's skills – like online and on-site learning.

So what does your job involve?
We're aiming to get 2000 site workers in Coventry and Warwickshire qualified to NVQ level 2 or above by July 2004. These are all experienced workers, not new starters – but at the moment they don't have the qualifications.

Did you have construction experience?
No, I'd never thought of working in construction, but I've learned a lot – being on sites and seeing how much of a change training can make. I was surprised to find out how many people didn't have qualifications. And I was surprised at how many accidents happen on sites. One of the compulsory parts of our on-site training is a health and safety test.

How do you promote this project?
I did a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the project and get people interested. I talk to employers and explain to them how it works, and put them in touch with a skills provider.

Has the project been successful?
It's taken a long time to get off the ground. This is a completely new concept. Before this, people had to go to a college to get a qualification; our aim is to get the colleges to come onto sites. So it's taken a while to get moving but things are really beginning to take off now.

Has it been an interesting challenge?
Yes, especially because I started on it from the word go and so I've been able to apply my own ideas and create my own deadlines. I get a lot of firms contacting me and it's good to see the scheme is a success. Awareness of training is growing and it's driving the cowboys out.

Where next for you?
Well, this is a trial project; we're aiming to expand it nationally next year and get 20,000 people signed up to it eventually. I definitely want to be involved in that. I want to see it right through; I'd get a lot out of that. I'd also be interested in applying this concept to other sectors, such as retail or manufacturing. The LSC doesn't just cover construction, it covers many sectors. I think on-site learning could be applied to other types of business really well.

Adam Johnson

Age 22
Lives Coventry
Job Construction co-ordinator, Coventry and Warwickshire workforce development team, Learning and Skills Council
Qualifications BA in sports management from Coventry University Hobbies I’m a big Coventry City fan so I go to all their games, and I play a bit of golf as well