New Construction Skills Centre
8th June 2023 – Tags: Construction
A £4.4m Construction Skills centre at City College Norwich will increase the opportunities available to young people to train for careers in the industry, helping to address a key regional skills need.
The college will be able to provide more places on its construction courses from September 2024, following the news that it has been awarded £4m from the Department for Education’s Post-16 Capacity Fund.
Together with an investment of approximately £400,000 by the college, the funding will be used to build an inspirational new Construction Skills centre on the Ipswich Road campus.
This major upgrade will also see the refurbishment of the college’s existing bricklaying workshops, helping the college to increase both the quality and the quantity of its construction facilities.
New construction workshops
Subject to planning permission, the new two-storey Construction Skills building will be located next to the college’s existing bricklaying and carpentry and joinery workshops.
Designed by LSI Architects, the 1,200m² building will be home to construction workshops across the ground floor and first floor.
These workshops will be used for the delivery of construction courses such as carpentry and joinery, although they have been designed for maximum flexibility of use and to be adaptable to changes in curriculum and industry demand.
Growing demand for construction courses for school leavers
Construction is one of the largest and most successful curriculum areas currently taught at the college: more than half of all 16- to 18-year-olds in Norfolk who are studying construction courses are doing so at City College Norwich.
However, the college’s construction courses have been running at full capacity for several years, making it hard to fully meet the demand for places. The closure of two independent training providers locally over recent years has added to the need to increase the availability of construction courses in the greater Norwich area.
This demand is set to increase further in the coming years as demographic changes mean there will be more 16- to 18-year olds to train in Norfolk.
Alongside this, the construction industry in the region has a pressing need for new workers. The Construction Skills Network estimates that 19,050 extra workers will be needed in the construction sector in the East of England by 2027 (CSN Industry Outlook, 2023-2027).
An exciting time for construction careers
The news is the second major boost for construction training at the college this year, after its £3.1m Advanced Construction and Engineering (ACE) Centre was officially opened in February.
Liv Bradley, Head of Construction at City College Norwich, says that the expansion and upgrades to the college’s facilities is essential for keeping up to date with industry advances and meeting local skills demands.
The skills needed are changing rapidly as the construction industry responds to the challenge of decarbonisation. The young people we are training today need to have the core practical skills and knowledge associated with their trade. In addition, they need to have strong digital skills and an understanding of energy efficiency in buildings, sustainability, and the life cycle of construction projects.
It’s a very exciting time for a young person to be entering the construction industry. It’s a career in which you will be constantly learning, responding to new challenges, whilst making a very direct contribution to the spaces and places in which we all live and work. The fact that we will be able to train even more young people for construction careers from next September is absolutely brilliant.”