New training programme to boost offsite construction skills

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A major training programme to help grow best practice and skills in offsite construction has been launched by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and project partners

The Offsite Ready project will be launched at CSIC on 23 April and will include a series of collaborative events and online modules to promote offsite construction skills.

Following that there will be a number of events delivered by MOBIE across England and by Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) in Wales.

The project, which is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), will offer a range of free-to-access online learning resources and face-to-face training events intended to build capacity in the UK education and skills system, and ensure colleges, universities and training providers are well placed to respond to the growth in offsite construction in the UK.

Offsite training

Offsite Ready will directly engage with employers, training providers, contractors, educational bodies and leading innovation organisations across the construction industry.

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A comprehensive suite of online flexible training modules will guarantee the project outputs are accessible ‘anytime, anywhere’ and will be available to book and download from the Offsite Ready project website from April 2020.

Throughout the ‘train-the-trainer’ programme as many as 500 training professionals will have received the accredited training across the UK.

The project is being led by CSIC and delivered in partnership with Ministry of Building and Education (MOBIE), Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC), Edinburgh Napier University, City of Glasgow College (COGC) and Class of Your Own (COYO).

Offsite Ready project programme

Topics covered in the programme include – design functions, procurement functions, cost management, project and site management, onsite logistics and assembly, and follow on and upstream trades.

George Clarke, MOBIE founder and Channel 4 presenter, said: “The Offsite Ready programme is a really exciting way to really move forward with offsite construction which is so important not only to the construction industry but to the future of the built environment, the way we build our places and spaces.

“It’s amazing how much more efficient and better for the environment building offsite can be, yet in the UK less than 5% of construction uses offsite techniques, compared to around 9% in Germany, 12-15% in Japan and 20% in Sweden.

“Offsite building can bring the cost of construction down, can offer 30% quicker build time, and is one of the ways the industry can get to net-zero carbon emission.

“So it’s a crucially important area where we really need to be making change and that’s what this forward-thinking project is all about.”

Stephen Good, chief executive of CSIC, commented: “The construction industry is facing a period of significant change. At CSIC, we want everyone involved in the construction industry to look to the future and do things better – and that includes tackling our housing shortage through modern, more efficient building techniques, like offsite construction.  Key to this is improving the quality and consistency of training in offsite construction.

“The Offsite Ready project was developed in response to research which has shown that offsite construction can increase productivity and reduce costs and timescales compared with traditional methods, with nearly half of construction industry employers expecting to use offsite techniques within the next five years.”

Offsite construction in Scotland

Ian Hughes, strategic partnerships director, CITB Scotland, added: “This is a crucial time for the growth of offsite construction in Scotland.

“The post-Brexit effects of tighter immigration rules mean that government, industry and training providers must work together to lessen its impact on the loss of skills in Scotland. This includes growing investment in the domestic workforce to drive productivity, attract talent and improve home-grown skill levels.

“The Offsite Ready training modules are a fantastic example of much-needed training in Modern Methods of Construction in Scotland to help our industry thrive into the future.”

Offsite Ready training modules will be available from April 2020 through an online training portal and the training events will take place in England, Scotland and Wales from April to July 2020.

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