IN A STEP TOWARDS addressing the national skills gap and championing the next generation of construction professionals, Lovell Partnerships has announced the launch of a new training initiative in the West Midlands.

“Built By You” is a recruitment and skills programme that will provide meaningful value to the communities in which Lovell builds while paving the way for future careers in the built environment, alongside local organisations and industry partners.

The first training provision has been supported by Telford & Wrekin Council and Nuplace (a wholly owned council company). It will be hosted at Telford College, which is providing the funding, training and facilities for the teaching element of the programme, while Lovell will offer on-site placements. The launch took place on 14 February at Telford College with talks from each partner on the scheme.

Stuart Penn, regional managing director at Lovell, said: “Too often the skills crisis gets talked about without any real action, but we want to help tackle it head on, and part of that involves providing more young people with chances to develop their experience, and find out what the sector has to offer.

“Construction provides a broad range of job opportunities encompassing a variety of skills – everything from carpentry, bricklaying and civil engineering to project management, sales and marketing; we need to do more to create viable career paths for people to access these roles.

“As a partnerships specialist we are committed to delivering added value within our network, helping our partners to address the issues that impact their communities. This dedicated initiative with Telford & Wrekin Council and Nuplace will support the area’s young people and is a shining example of the potential that a collaborative approach can provide.”

Built By You candidates will take part in training over a four-week period, resulting in a level 1 qualification as well as on-the-job experience. There will be up to 10 candidates in each cohort, with up to four intakes per year. At the end of the training, each person will have an interview with Lovell or another partner for the opportunity to secure a permanent position.

Stuart added: “Over the next few years, we will be working with our partners on a significant number of housing schemes in the region that will all have roles to fill – perfect for those taking part in Built By You. We hope to encourage more construction firms to get involved and use this scheme to their advantage as a strong recruitment tool and valuable opportunity to support the next generation.”

Janet Stephens, Telford College’s deputy chief executive, said: “Companies want to recruit and retain the best quality staff to grow and thrive, and it’s the role of education to work closely with them to make it possible.

“Our most important objective here at Telford College is to deliver students with the calibre and skills sets that local businesses need – working together is the best way to get there.

“This is a fantastic example of collaboration to tackle some of the skills issues which businesses talk to us about, and we’re delighted and excited to be involved.”

Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Visitor Economy, said: “We’re delighted that ‘Built By You’ has been launched and it’s an exciting programme for employers and jobseekers across the borough.

“Through the initiative, people will be introduced to careers in housing construction and benefit from training and work experience which could offer them a route into full-time employment.

“Built By You’ is the perfect platform for people to learn new skills to support the construction industry’s future workforce and take part in training and practical experience for specific trades such as carpentry, bricklaying and architecture.”