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    FIS launches BuildBack - tackling skills shortages and unemployment through training

    4th May 2017

    Ask anyone in the construction industry to name the biggest challenges facing the sector today and it’s guaranteed you’ll hear the works ‘skills gap’ mentioned across the board, from site managers to bricklayers. 

    With an uncertain post-Brexit future affecting the current workforce and fewer young people being enticed into the world of construction, it’s essential that more is done to showcase the industry for the vital, rewarding and exciting workplace it really is. And with a large proportion of unemployed people across the UK needing opportunities to get into work, the FIS has engineered an ideal solution.

    Partnering with Tyne Metropolitan College, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the Dry Lining and Plastering Training Forum (DLPTF) and Jobcentre Plus, the FIS has devised a free 2 week course called BuildBack, available to provide unemployed candidates with the skills needed to pursue a career in drylining.

    Following the instructive, practical training provided in the ‘Specialist Upskilling Programme’, candidates are enrolled onto a 2 week onsite practical placement, having gained a Health and Safety certificate and CSCS card during the course.  Following the placement, candidates are guaranteed a job interview with an employer.

    Talking about his experience with BuildBack after struggling to find work since leaving the forces, recent candidate, and now full time drylining employee, Alex Baillie enthused, ‘I leapt at the opportunity and I’m really glad I have. The course was informative, well structured and I found it a pleasure... I was lucky enough to be placed with a company called Kenmor and they’ve been fantastic ’

    Not only benefiting those seeking employment, BuildBack aims to help employers in the construction industry future proof its workforce with enthusiastic, site ready, trained candidates keen to develop their careers.

    Discussing the course, Paul Devlin, Director at Kenmor Ceilings and Partitions said “As an employer, you have to buy into these schemes or you’ll have no-one coming through the ranks for the future.”

    Encon is delighted to be involved with this exciting new initiative and has provided the first 10 participants with full PPE, including gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, hi vis vests and safety boots, to protect them during the course.

    Attending the official open day launch in April, Encon Business Development Manager Simon Sidney commented, ‘everyone is enthusiastic and involved. It’s great to see all the participants enjoying the course, keen to learn and take advantage of the opportunities.

    Depending on the success of the Newcastle pilot programme, the FIS hopes to roll the scheme out to other locations in the UK to help tackle to two fold issues of skills shortages and unemployment.

    Taking stock of the fledgling course’s impact so far, FIS Project Manager Paul Glover said, “I’m delighted with the progress that the BuildBack programme attendees are making. All have successfully completed the college-based Specialist Upskilling Programme, exceeding the expectations of the college instructors in the process, which is no mean feat! Every attendee has passed their CSCS test and we have already had an offer of a job accepted by one of our attendees following his work experience placement. So far, BuildBack has been a real success. The progress, commitment and “can-do” attitude of the attendees has been great to see, and I’m really looking forward to hearing about more good news stories in future.


    Find out more about BuildBack here.