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Sheffield launches new construction skills learning hub

Building block opening
Buildinmg block opening

Continuing on from the success of ‘The Building Block’ programme, a new construction learning hub will open its doors at Harborough Avenue on 26 September.

Situated next to the major Sheffield Housing Company (SHC) development in S2, the ambitious programme is coordinated by Sheffield City Council and is part of the Construction Skills Fund (CSF).

It has already seen more than 85 people successfully move into full time construction work in just 6 months, providing local people with local jobs.

With a shortage of construction workers in Sheffield, the initiative has provided a big boost to the city, supporting the council’s ambition to build 10,000 new homes over the next 10 years.

Ellie was working as a hairdresser before beginning her training with The Building Block. Now a full time bricklayer, Ellie credits the learning hub for helping her spark a new career. She said:

“I wasn’t challenged enough as a hairdresser and I was speaking to my partner one evening who told me about a training course his boss was supporting alongside Sheffield City Council -  The Building Block.  I looked into it and thought immediately how great an opportunity this was to start a new career.

“I loved attending the hub; everyone on the course was in the same situation as me, looking to get started in a new career and so we all bonded over that. I was learning new skills every day and I felt a huge sense of satisfaction knowing I was getting closer to my goal of becoming a bricklayer.

“I’m now fortunate enough to work as a bricklayer full time! I started with work experience on a new housing development at Manor Boot; my employers were so impressed with my work ethic I was inundated with offers of employment.

“I now really enjoy coming to work every day and I can’t envisage myself doing anything else.”

Launched in October 2018 and delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the £22m Construction Skills Fund is funded by the Department for Education (DfE).The scheme has given organisations the opportunity to create 26 learning ‘hubs’ across the country, with the aim of training more than 13,000 people to be ready for employment in the construction industry by March 2020.

The hubs provide life-changing opportunities to start a career in construction, with particular focus on the long-term unemployed, career changers and unrepresented groups.

Councillor Abtisam Mohamed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Ellie’s story is great – it is fantastic that the council has enabled her to train in construction and find a new career where she is happy and fulfilled.

“The hub is a good way for local people to work in local jobs. Not only does The Building Block scheme provide people with very desirable qualifications, they are also gaining crucial work experience, giving them the very best start in their new career.”

Steve Radley, Policy Director of the Construction Industry Training Board, said:

“Sheffield City Council has an ambitious plan to supply the city with 10,000 new homes over the next 10 years, and to successfully achieve that target it is crucial that new talent is recruited into the local construction industry.

“We’ve seen a fantastic response from local employers as they continue to recruit from the Building Block learning hub. We look forward to seeing further trainees placed in full time employment and helping to further regenerate the city of Sheffield.”