A construction training centre for undergraduates at the National Construction College is to stay in business after receiving funding.

The Constructionarium is to continue beyond its initial three-year term after securing £150,000 of core funding from the industry. The partners behind the scheme are seeking European funds for expansion, which may take the form of a Scottish centre.

The scheme aims to provide students from universities across the UK with experience of a construction environment where they can practise technical skills including cost control and programming. The centre, which covers 10 acres in Norfolk, has hosted two week-long training events for students in the past year. Experts from John Doyle Construction, Shepherd Construction and engineers Arup and Expedition oversaw students as they constructed scaled projects including a hydroelectric dam and a tented stadium.

The centre hopes to run a further two events next year.

Stef Stefanou, chairman of John Doyle and co-ordinator of the initiative, said: “It would be fantastic to see this practical application of theory featuring as part of all civil engineering courses in years to come.”

It would be fantastic to see this as part of all civil engineering courses in years to come

Stef Stefanou, John Doyle Construction

The Constructionarium moved to its purpose-built site at the National Construction College, which is run by CITB-ConstructionSkills, earlier this year. The scheme was conceived in 2002 by John Doyle, the Arup Foundation, Expedition and Imperial College London.

n Almost 80% of construction firms have experienced problems with recruitment over the past year, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Builders. The survey of the institute’s members found the highest level of difficulty was in recruiting craft workers, with 42% of companies registering a serious problem. Eighty-nine per cent of respondents acknowledged there was a shortage of training placements in the industry.