We all know there is a skills crisis in our industry, compounded with the number of people who have left the industry during the pandemic and a shortage of ‘new’ people entering the industry.
Statistics show that the number of EU-born construction workers in London more than halved between 2018 and 2020, from 115,000 to just 53,000, according to the Office for National Statistics. Meanwhile, there has been no major uptick in the number of young people coming into the sector. In February, Construction News revealed a 40 per cent drop in the number of construction apprenticeship starts in England this academic year.
So it’s welcome news that T-levels have been announced. These are new courses which follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A levels. These 2-year courses, which were launched September 2020, have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work, further training or study.
T-Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). The T Level for onsite construction is due to start this September 2021.
Whether or not T-levels will solve the industry’s skills gap remains to be seen, but if firms do not get behind them, they will have no chance of success. It will only be useful if young people are given the opportunities to learn, to make mistakes and learn from mistakes and importantly given responsibilities. Royal Clean would certainly be open to taking on future T-Level students that are willing to grow with our business.
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