At least 10 big projects, including £311m PFI hospital and £250m Tyne tunnel, pencilled in
Thousand of trainees will soon be working on high-profile projects throughout the country as the National Skills Academies for Construction launches at least one scheme a month this year.
More than 10 prestigious projects will become sites for academies in 2008, including the £311m Pinderfields PFI hospital in Yorkshire and Humberside, being built by Balfour Beatty, and the £250m Tyne tunnel. Talks are also going on over the inclusion of the £350m Shard at London Bridge.
Another project expected to be launched this year is the £450m Building Schools for the Future programme in Kent. Training body ConstructionSkills is working with Laing O’Rourke, Swindon council, the King’s Cross redevelopment project, Denne Construction and Elevate to set up more. The projects in the scheme are valued at more than £100m or have been running for at least three years.
Jamie White, development manager of the National Skills Academy, said: “If you sell Arsenal shirts on the streets on London you’re probably not going to sell many, but if you sit outside the Emirates stadium then you’re probably going to sell quite a lot – it’s exactly the same for national skills academies.”
The National Skills Academies are run by ConstructionSkills in a partnership with employers, clients, colleges, and the Learning and Skills Council. Representatives of the body work with main contractors to assess the level of skills required and the skills gaps in supply chains.
ConstructionSkills aims to create at least 10,000 local jobs through apprenticeships by 2010. It also aims to have an apprenticeship project in each of the nine ConstructionSkills regions by the end of the year.
Ruth Kelly, the former education secretary, launched the National Skills Academy concept in 2005. Seven construction academies were launched last year and Gordon Brown, the prime minister, said all five main Olympic building would be academies.