Construction skills scheme gets the backing of three new sponsors

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Paul Baker, technical director at Desco, Peter Barker, MD of BIM Academy, Helen Whitfield, chief operating officer at NBS, Helen Whitfield, communications director at Ryder Architecture and Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College

Three high-profile organisations are to lend support to an innovative construction skills scheme aimed at drawing in new talent

A construction skills scheme is to gain the backing of three national organisations, it has emerged.

PlanBEE, which was launched last year, was designed to attract new talent into the built environment industry. A joint partnership between Gateshead College and Ryder Architecture, the scheme brought together a network of experts in the construction industry to develop a unique, flexible training programme. It aims to retain talent, plug the skills and create a flexible workforce that can cross disciplines.

Now, the BIM Academy, engineering consultancy Desco and the NBS have thrown their support behind the scheme by signing up to become sponsors.

Peter Barker, MD of BIM Academy, said: “BIM Academy are delighted to become a sponsor for PlanBEE as it allows us to share our expertise in the new world of digital construction with the next generation seeking to enter the increasingly diverse and exciting built environment sector.”

Knowledge of all aspects of the industry

PlanBEE is unique in that the training programme deviates from traditional models which place students in one company while they complete their qualifications. Under PlanBEE students are given the opportunity to work across several firms, giving them a greater understanding of the build environment industry.

Paul Baker, technical director at Desco (Design & Consultancy) Ltd said: “We are pleased to support PlanBEE, an inspirational, sector-wide partnership that is helping to shape future talent and inspire people to consider a rewarding career in construction.

“As an award-winning MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) design consultancy, we are proud to be part of an initiative that showcases the industry and benefits of working across several construction disciplines.”

The scheme welcomed the first round of students in September 2016 and is ready to take on the second this autumn.

Helen Whitfield, chief operating officer at Newcastle-based NBS, said focusing on digital construction within the scheme was vital. She said: “There aren’t many courses that combine the digital world with construction and this gives students a chance to learn several disciplines that will stand them in good stead for their chosen career in the built environment industry.”

Bespoke training

The scheme was tailored specifically for and by the North East construction sector. It pays students a salary of £10,700 per year, awards them a professional qualification and provides a guaranteed job opportunity following graduation.

Many high profile firms are already involved in the scheme, including Brims Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine, Xsite Architecture, Robertson, 3e Consulting, Cundall, Arup, FaulknerBrowns, Sadler Brown Architecture and Tolent.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “We are thrilled to have BIM Academy, Desco and NBS on board at PlanBEE, which is tailored for and led by the specific needs of industry. We are working closely with the sector to ensure that the training provides companies with vital skills that enable them to become more productive and competitive, both now and in the long run.”

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