FIS training manager Jeremy Clayton takes a look at what the new Construction Centre at Barnsley College has to offer, both for today’s students and for tomorrow’s construction sector.

Barnsley College’s bespoke new Construction Centre, The Cube, opened its doors in September 2015, providing state-of-the-art facilities for study in construction trades including brickwork, wall and floor tiling, plumbing, plastering, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, interior systems, 3D surveying and sustainable construction.

The Cube houses innovative and inspiring work areas with industry-led equipment providing a high quality learning experience for students. Facilities include new workshops, classrooms and  machinery incorporating a  comprehensive IT network supported by industry-standard software; a project workshop for new construction technologies; breakout areas allowing students to work independently; and dedicated student support encouraging  positive progression into employment or further study.

Jeremy Clayton, FIS training manager, met with the finishes and interiors team at the college to discuss how FIS members could benefit from the training available.

Helen Wordsworth, interim head of construction, said: “The staff and students are very excited about the new Construction Centre which provides outstanding first-class training for Barnsley and the wider region. The fantastic facilities, coupled with the  development of new courses and initiatives, provide our students with excellent opportunities to progress into Higher Education.

“With 95 per cent of our construction students progressing into employment or further study after completing their course at Barnsley College, it is clear that we nurture our students to ensure they have the employability skills to go into industry and be successful.”

Andrew Fairest, Barnsley College’s vice principal for Property Development, added: “We are very pleased that this exciting new  development provides students with top quality facilities in which to learn. It also creates a national ‘hub’ for specialist training in energy efficient construction and  engineering, delivered from our Construction Centre, Science  Technology Engineering and Mathematics Centre, and Think Low Carbon Centre.”

The facility was very impressive, as was the staff’s clear  understanding of factors affecting apprentices entering our sector. The college actively engages with young people and their families at the start of the learning process to explain sector-specific issues such as  physical fitness, work ethic and working away for periods of time. The idea here is to engage the right calibre of trainee, so that work does not hold any surprises during and after the training itself.

A CITB report predicts that 182,000 new jobs will be created in the construction industry by 2018, which means there are more  opportunities than ever for securing a rewarding and profitable career within the construction industry: Barnsley College is  preparing its students for just that.

To help meet this demand,  full-time construction students at The Cube can undertake work  experience within the industry and study new courses in sustainable construction, scaffolding and  interior systems such as drylining and suspended ceilings. There are several FIS members who are already engaging with the college to help to bridge their current skills gap.

Planning ahead to fill future jobs

Economic plans suggest that over 39,000 new jobs will be created in Barnsley by 2017 in key growth areas which include manufacturing  engineering, and business services. The college is  preparing for this by investing more than £37 million in new buildings and upgrading its facilities.

The college supports the development of skills within South Yorkshire and the wider region by collaborating with employers to identify skills gaps and develop a curriculum that will equip learners with workplace-specific skills.

Successful partnerships have already been forged with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and local employers such as FIS member the Horbury Group and 1st Horizon Surveying and Engineering Ltd. By working in  partnership, the college has introduced new apprenticeship pathways that meet the exact needs of their employers.

Jim Garside, managing director of 1st Horizon, said: “The college’s apprenticeship scheme has been  absolutely fundamental to our business growth at a time where skilled  personnel for our particular  discipline is at a shortage.”

Commercial director for Horbury Group Mathew Crisp added: “We are a market leader within the internal finishes industry and we sought a training provider that was considered equally successful within its respective discipline.

“The college has been flexible in working collaboratively with Horbury Group to deliver a bespoke training programme for our business needs, called the Internal Systems Apprenticeship. In addition to the dynamic approach shown to cater for our needs, the college has a state-of-the-art Construction Centre. All of this makes Barnsley College our ideal training partner.”

The college works closely with over 700 employers across the region, regardless of size or  industry, and its dedicated  Employer Response Unit  collaborates with businesses to establish the precise area of  improvement and develop a tailored recruitment and training solution. Whether businesses are looking to recruit new employees or up-skill existing team members, solutions are available. The team will also support employers to access any available funding and grants.

Employers from all areas of industry are invited to work with the college, whether able to offer experience opportunities, apprenticeship training or higher level qualifications.

Contact Barnsley College on 01226 216123