Encouraging construction skills training in Essex

Cutting the ribbon. Left to right: Matthew Jolly, Phelan Construction; Alison Andreas, Principal and

Cutting the ribbon. Left to right: Matthew Jolly, Phelan Construction; Alison Andreas, Principal and Chief Executive, Colchester Institute; Nigel Warren, DWP; Cllr. Lynda McWilliams, ofTendring District Council is cutting the ribbon Picture: JESSICA RILEY - Credit: Archant

Colchester Institute’s Clacton campus has undergone a major revamp to provide more opportunities for local people to develop the skills for careers in the construction.

Inside the Construction Skills Centre at Clacton Campus. Left to right: Lis Casswell, Phelan Constru

Inside the Construction Skills Centre at Clacton Campus. Left to right: Lis Casswell, Phelan Construction; Scott Manton, Phelan Construction; Cllr. Lynda McWilliams, Tendring District Council; Alison Andreas, Principal and Chief Executive, Colchester Institute; Matthew Jolly, Phelan Construction; Nigel Warren, DWP. Picture: JESSICA RILEY - Credit: Archant

The college has invested in two large multi-purpose workshops that will extend the existing construction training facilities at Clacton Campus.

The project is supported by Essex County Council and sponsored by Phelan Construction,.

The Construction Skills Centre will deliver construction trade programmes specifically for adult learners in the Tendring District; providing direct support to local businesses including growing the pool of local skilled labour.

The opening took place on Monday inside the Construction Skills Centre.


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The Essex Employment and Skills Board estimates there is a need for at least 44,000 new construction recruits to support pipeline Essex projects by 2021.

Industry-standard equipment will allow students to acquire skills that they can easily apply to the workplace. There are specialist facilities for brickwork, tiling, plastering, tiling, carpentry, kitchen fitting, plumbing and electrical installations,

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The Skills Centre provides flexible ‘upskilling’ programmes, delivering both skills and mandatory safety qualifications.

The new centre at Church Road has the capacity to train hundreds of adults and younger people who will no longer have to travel out of the district to learn these skills.

The centre enables students to access training around their current employment, with both day and evening training options available.

The training facilities will enable school leavers to access full time courses as well as adult learners to study part time.

Adam Ward director of STEM Innovation at Colchester Institute said: “The opportunity to change career and access high earning jobs within the construction sector is very real. This centre provides training that focuses on the specific skills and behaviours employers are looking to fill current skills shortages. For candidates with the right work ethic, this means quick routes to much needed employment within the construction industry.”

Matt Jolly, pre-construction manager at Phelan Construction added: “Phelan Construction is thrilled to be sponsoring the new Construction Skills Centre at Colchester Institute’s Clacton campus. The construction sector overall is in the midst of a serious nationwide skills shortage. This is causing increasing labour costs and limits to construction activity, and is predicted to only get worse. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has reported that the industry needs to find 157,000 new recruits by 2021 in order to keep up with demand. At Phelan Construction, we take this industry-wide problem very seriously and wanted to work with our local training provider and educator, Colchester Institute, to develop a tangible, practical solution that could help start tackling this problem in our local area.”

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