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Support to ease worker shortage

A major project to support new construction workers across Shropshire and drive growth in the industry has been launched by a local education and training charity.

The Construction Support Partnership (CSP) will provide tailored training, mentoring and support to around 700 new construction workers or those returning to the sector.

The £400,000 project is being led by supported employment and training charity, Landau, with funding provided by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) as part of the England Construction Opportunities (ECO) programme.

Phil Taylor, chief operations officer for Landau, said: “Research has shown that the more support new construction workers get early on in their careers, the more likely they are to stay in the industry.

"The new CSP programme will focus on supporting people in the workplace through job coaching, mentoring, employer engagement, peer and buddy systems, or any other support which might be appropriate.

“It is targeted at new entrants to the construction industry and those who are returning after a gap of two years or more. The CITB is particularly keen to widen the talent pool in construction, so many of the people we support will be from groups under-represented in the industry - women or non-binary people, those from an ethnic minority or people with a learning difference or disability.

“There is a national shortage of skilled construction workers so it’s vital that new recruits don’t leave because of a lack of support. Hopefully this three–year project will help overcome some of the obvious and not so obvious barriers which might otherwise mean workers give up and go elsewhere.”

Landau, which provides employment and training support across the West Midlands from its headquarters in Telford, previously led the multi-partnership Marches Construction-Ready Partnership, which helped to provide life-changing career opportunities for unemployed people, students and those looking to make a career change by delivering practical, on-site construction training.

The charity’s new Training and Enterprise Centre in Wellington is also kitted out with a construction workshop to teach skills such as bricklaying and plumbing to further support people as they build their skills in the industry.

The CSP programme will be available to construction workers aged 18 and over living in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Herefordshire and Staffordshire.

Tim Balcon, CITB chief executive, said: “Landau’s wealth of knowledge and experience, combined with their established partnerships, will be vital in creating the opportunities, supporting new entrants, and critically maximising skills retention in the industry, all of which CITB recognises is and will continue to be crucial for the foreseeable future. 

“With a changing landscape and a demand in England alone for over 220,000 additional workers by 2026, the challenge industry faces should not be underestimated. However, this funding presents a great opportunity to contribute and address some of those key skills challenges, primarily helping towards securing construction’s talent pipeline.”

Pictured: Phil Taylor - chief operations officer at Landau