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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, in 2014, the Paviors’ Charity Committee decided to adopt the London Highways Academy of Excellence that was originally set up by Pavior Michael Conway of FM Conway, and to develop it into 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).
Over the two-week course, candidates benefit from training in health and safety, first aid, customer service, construction sustainability, manual handling and employability. In addition, candidates are funded to obtain their CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card. After successful completion of the course, candidates are awarded the London Bronze Pass and the opportunity to attend interviews to secure employment. Once employment is found, the Academy helps employees work towards obtaining further qualifications, such as NVQs.
The Academy is now in its fourth year and has engaged with over 220 individuals since its start to provide training and employment opportunities. Of those who attended courses in 2014 and 2015, 42 are still in employment two years later. The Paviors currently budget to donate £50,000 of funding each year. Across 2014 (the start-up year) and 2015, the Academy’s costs were only in the region of £60,000. This equates to a cost of just over £1,400 for each candidate who found employment and then remained in employment for two years. Going forward, it is anticipated that this may rise to around £2,000 per job, but this is still considered to represent excellent value of money.
The achievements of the latest course run are included in Paviors’ News.
This has estimated that, up to February 2017, £1,021,000 of social value was created, which represents a return of £9 for every £1 invested in the Academy. Some graduates have 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 is crucial to the success of the Academy. However, more offers of job-opportunities for graduates are always needed.
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.