Three firms join construction skills scheme to support the built environment

construction skills

Black & White Engineering, s h e d and James Christopher Consulting have become sponsors of an innovative training scheme which works to attract the best talent into the sector

The construction skills scheme was launched in 2016 when Gateshead College and Ryder Architecture formed an alliance with a network of architects, designers, contractors and engineering specialists.

PlanBEE (Build Environment Education) is a unique, flexible training programme designed to plug the skills gaps to create a workforce capable of working across various construction disciplines.

PlanBEE gives trainees the chance to work across several companies and therefore gain a more rounded understanding of the built environment industry.

Working with Gateshead College, the PlanBEE group has created a bespoke higher-level skills programme that provides budding professionals with study and off-the-job training at the college’s construction facility on Team Valley.

Launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2007, Black and White Engineering has worked on numerous large-scale iconic projects including high-rise towers, data centres, hotels, shopping malls and airports.

Steven Horn, director, in B&W’s Newcastle office said: “We need to see more young people coming into our industry with knowledge of different areas of the built environment.

“The way PlanBEE is structured allows us to achieve this. The programme is ideal preparation for how we want to develop our staff, which is to give them opportunities to experience different ways of working on various projects around the world.”

Newcastle-based s h e d is a structural and civil engineering design consultancy that specialises in complex engineering design and Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Marc Horn of s h e d said: “Our expertise in BIM requires us to recruit staff with a rounded understanding of the built environment sector.

“PlanBEE enables us to achieve this because it moves away from traditional off-the-shelf training schemes that shoehorn professionals into narrowly defined roles in a single company.”

James Christopher Consulting, an established engineering practice in Gateshead, offers a plethora of services from small-scale specialist structures to large-scale commercial developments including land reclamation and drainage works.

Technical director Craig Higgins said: “We were delighted to get involved with PlanBEE and were impressed with this novel approach to recruiting, training and developing staff.

“There’s a strong emphasis on the application of digital technologies to different types of construction projects and we want our workforce to be at the forefront of this revolution.”

It has been tailored specifically for and by the North East construction sector, providing students with a starting salary of £10,700 per year, a professional qualification and a guaranteed job opportunity on graduation.

Established by Ryder Architecture, the scheme has already attracted some high-profile names, including Brims Construction, NBS, Desco (Design & Consultancy), BIM Academy, Sir Robert McAlpine, Xsite Architecture, Robertson, 3e Consulting, Cundall, Arup, FaulknerBrowns, Sadler Brown Architecture and Tolent.

For more information about the programme, or to get involved, visit or contact Helen Craddock at Ryder on 0191 269 5454.


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