London Construction Academy
The Paviors Company has long provided academic sponsorship but, after a thorough review of its charitable objectives, a decision was taken to expand this support and to reach out to a very different group of people. There are real skill shortages in the construction sector in London, particularly amongst technicians and craftsmen. In addition, there are many young people in the City who are low-achievers. Those not in employment or education may have access to training but, too often, this does not convert into a job. This can be a difficult group of people to engage with: most have faced huge challenges in their young lives and need nurturing and encouragement to take those first steps to independence.
It was against this background that the Paviors’ Charity Committee originally set up the London Highways Academy of Excellence in 2014. Recently, this has been re-branded as the London Construction Academy to reflect the wider aims of this education and training initiative. The Academy aims to meet the longer-term aims and objectives of the Company by providing work-experience, training and apprenticeships for the hard-to-reach in London’s boroughs who are not in employment, education or training (NEETS). Click here to see a video about the Academy.
A two-week course is provided, and this is designed to achieve the Bronze London Pass, which is the basic level of accreditation for employability. The course includes:
- An induction specific to the construction industry and working in London
- First aid
- Obtaining a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card
- Help with applying for employment
Once employment is found, the Academy helps employees work towards obtaining further qualifications, such as NVQs.
The Academy is now in its third year and, during this time, had awarded 128 Bronze London Passes. It had been estimated that there was a social value return of £9 for every £1 invested in the Academy. Seventy-five per cent of those found work after the course were still in employment, which was a much greater proportion than on government-provided schemes. Some graduates had now gone on to obtain further qualifications. In 2016. the Academy won an award for Inspiring Change in the Community from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association. Funding from the Paviors was crucial to the success of the Academy. However, more offers of job-opportunities for graduates were needed.
Feedback from participants, trainers and employers includes:
- “If we didn’t have this course we would be sitting at home doing nothing”
- “It has given us confidence to speak out and to interact with people”
- “The trainees were clearly interested in the role, apprenticeship scheme and moving through the construction industry”
- “They have been the most enthusiastic and motivated group of young people I have taught in a long time”
Course dates, contact details and further information can be obtained from the LCA website.
There is an on-going need for apprenticeships to be provided to successful graduates of the scheme by the companies of Pavior members and others. Click here for more details of apprenticeship requirements.