Press release

£600,000 boost for off-site skills

Businesses in the off-site construction industry are invited to bid for up to £600,000 for skills research and development (R&D).

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The UK’s offsite construction industry has significant growth potential, but research shows this growth may be hampered by a lack of skills. To help address this, the government-backed UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) today launched a UK Futures Programme to co-invest with employers in pilot programmes to help develop new ways of getting the skills the sector needs for growth.

Up to £600,000 is available to co-invest with employers in testing ways of improving training and qualifications and how businesses can work together to boost growth in offsite construction.

Bill McGinnis CBE, a UKCES commissioner and chairman of McAvoy Group (offsite solutions) said:

The offsite sector urgently needs to exploit new technologies and the links with manufacturing if it is to meet the demands being put on it – particularly the low-carbon agenda and the pressure to build more low-cost housing. We hope that by making this money available, businesses and training providers can be encouraged to collaborate to design and develop high-quality training and qualifications which will be recognised and adopted right across the sector.

There is no magic bullet to the skills needs of offsite construction, but we want to find out what works by encouraging employers to experiment with bold solutions, taking risks and innovating.

Research conducted by UKCES shows that although careers within offsite construction are relatively popular, few applicants have the skills required. Although businesses run their own training programmes, these are often short-term, and specific only to the needs of that business at that time. This results in a less flexible and collaborative workforce. Currently, offsite accounts for an estimated 7% of total construction output value in the UK.

Published 30 April 2014