With the health and safety of students and tutors a firm priority, British Gypsum has been working closely with its training providers to put extra safety precautions in place enabling its Site Ready Skimming Course to restart.

This comes as great news for workers keen to improve their job prospects in this COVID-19 era, as training academies report they’ve seen demand for construction courses soar since lockdown measures were eased.

North West Skills Academy in Manchester, began safely delivering British Gypsum’s Site Ready Skimming Course again last week. The Academy, which has reported a 22% increase in enquiries and a 13% increase in enrolment numbers versus this time last year has worked closely with British Gyspum to implement safety meaures that enable the students to continue learning at pace, while keeping the safety of students and tutors firmly at the forefront.

Designed to support individual plastering learners as well as contractors seeking to upskill their drylining tapers, plastering and general labourers, the free course teaches ‘students’ with basic skills the necessary trowel technicques needed to be able to skim plasterboard on site.

It includes learning how to finish internal angles, working to wet angles, the application and finishing of angle beads to external corners and around openings, and working on splayed angles, as well as working around services in both flat and window walls.  Plastering large areas to represent commercial projects is a key area covered on the course with learners stretched and challenged to complete the work to deadlines. The course also covers the correct use of the latest plastering tools and methods as well as identifying bad practice. At the end of the course, all participants complete a final assessment to test the skills they have developed over the six-week period and demonstrate they are able to produce a volume of finished work in a day.

Samuel Riley, CEO at North West Skills Academy said: “We’re so pleased that we are now back up and running and able to offer our training courses again.  We have a group of seven students taking part in the current Site Ready Skimming Course, with two further courses also booked up in the coming months. Feedback from students has been excellent and they are pleased with the safety precautions we have in place to help protect them from COVID-19.

“We’ve seen a real increase in the number of enquiries and sign ups we’ve had since lockdown was imposed in March which will hopefully give the construction industry a real boost in terms of the skilled labour available. From speaking to students and those enquiring about our courses many have said that their time spent in lockdown gave them the opportunity to figure out how best they could improve their career prospects. For newly qualifieds, it has been a matter of finding courses that will help them to hone and improve their recently learned skills, whilst for others, it’s been a case of exploring the opportunities available to help them enhance their skill set so that they can take on more varied and complex jobs.”

Dave Hall, Training Partnerships Director at British Gypsum, said: “The safety of tutors and students remains our priority but we are really pleased that our training partners are now able to start delivering our Site Ready Skimming Course again.

“We are passionate about supporting the construction industry to address and resolve the huge skills gap it faces and the delivery of this particular course will help us improve the skills set of our labourforce.

“The course focuses on improving the skills of learners with existing trowel experience to a standard where they can competently skim good volumes of plasterboard on site.  This will not only give businesses a more able and flexible workforce, but will also provide our learners with additional job opportunities.”

For more information about British Gypsum’s Site Ready Skimming Course and to find your nearest training provider visit https://www.british-gypsum.com/sitereadyskimcourse