LJMU partnerships to tackle skills gap in construction



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LJMU wowed industry partners with its ‘future homes’ research at the launch of a new £370,000 centre for construction skills.

Visitors toured the exemplar home ‘labs’ at Byrom Street where our experts are testing the latest heating, construction, and retrofitting techniques to provide industry with baseline data on housebuilding for a low carbon future.

Industry partners, colleges and government officials were on campus to support the new Construction Skills and Knowledge Hub, which has been funded thorough the Skills Capital Fund by the Liverpool Combined Authority and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

“This collaboration between industry, higher and further education is now vital if we are to avoid a skills time-bomb in UK construction,” alerted Professor Mike Riley, Director of Civil Engineering and Built Environment.

'Perfect storm'

“The departure of 165,000 European workers combined with an ageing workforce and the pandemic has created a perfect storm for future capacity in the industry.”

Part of the solution is the ‘Hub’ – a dedicated space for industry on campus to facilitate collaborative initiatives for employers, professional bodies and learners on degree apprenticeships and other pathways unaligned to traditional degree routes.

Paul Amann, principal officer for employment and skills at LCA, said the centre was important to get local people into jobs and said the Mayor was giving it his full support because “he wants the city region to be top of the game” in construction skills, low carbon and retrofit.

“Steve began his career in construction and he will be delighted we are funding innovative ways to get more people “site ready”, he said.

Degree Apprenticeships

The space has already been used to coach employers of degree apprentices and to host meetings of employers groups RICS and CITB and will be used to host short courses and CPD for a range of construction employees.

 A future objective, now being worked on, is to develop new qualifications which transcend the current two-track provision of skills, which effectively separates university training and college/apprenticeship training.

Damian Fearon, Principal Lecturer in Construction, said: “We are actively exploring co-creation of learning pathways with FE; for example with Hugh Baird College we are looking at a new qualification which bridges level 3 skills with degree courses.”

- The tour included the Building Research Establishment (BRE) innovation park R&D test houses, the Urban Splash Modular House & our Ideal Homes modular property.


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