New investment tipped to boost offsite construction

OFFSITE construction is said to be going ‘mainstream’ after CITB agreed a £1.2 million funding package for two projects.

The initiatives, led by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), have been tipped to increase the skills capacity for the offsite sector in education, for school leavers and among industry trainers.

Both projects will be ‘pioneering’ a collaborative approach involving employers, providers, contractors and innovation organisations that will bring new training materials to industry.

CSIC will help establish an offsite construction competency framework, while teaching support and upskilling programmes for offsite trainers will be developed.

As a result of this investment, industry and education will have free access to a range of learning materials.

Steve Radley, CITB strategy and policy director said, “Offsite construction creates a range of exciting new skills needs and opportunities, including in assembly, digital technologies and installation. We’re looking to build these into training at both entry level and also to enable upskilling within the industry, because getting this right can mean a more multi-skilled, diverse and productive workforce.”

Rohan Bush, CSIC head of public partnerships and future workforce added, “It is time to think differently about construction, because carrying on as we are is simply not an option – our industry needs to modernise. Offsite construction can efficiently deliver a high quality, mass-customisable product that is technically advanced, offering social, environmental and economic benefits. It can speed up the construction process, lower the impact of adverse weather conditions on projects, and reduce costs while also improving safety. But to ensure that offsite becomes mainstream, we need a workforce with the necessary skills – and that’s where these projects come in.”

The MTC’s Ian Buckingham, construction skills manager commented, “The primary purpose of this project is to develop the capability and capacity of the construction industry training network. This will be achieved through the development of a common and consistent set of training materials that are freely available for trainers, and through the upskilling of existing and new trainers. The MTC is at the forefront of emerging technologies, productivity and efficiency and we are very pleased to provide the construction training sector with the support it will need to drive construction forward.”