A purpose-built construction academy, one of the first of its kind in the UK, has been launched by Berkeley and West London College. The West London Construction Academy has officially opened in Southall Waterside and it aims the tackle the U’s construction skills crisis and address the exodus of talent from the industry.
More people are leaving the construction industry than joining it, threatening productivity and growth, according to recent figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. With a shortage of homes, it is vital that the sector tackles the skills crisis head on. If it does not the workforce will decrease by 20–25% in the next decade.
“The West London Construction Academy aims to address the industry’s skills gap for the long term by inspiring the next generation and preparing them for the world of work, including giving them the best chance of securing a placement at the end of their apprenticeships,” said Berkeley Group Chief Executive Rob Perrins.
Berkeley Group, together with West London College and trade partners, have designed a new ‘By Industry, For Industry’ curriculum. Apprentices will gain on-the-job experience alongside classroom and online learning, bridging the skills gap for the long term and allowing students to earn as they learn.
The courses available are services vital to the industry, such as bricklaying, plastering, dry-lining and carpentry and are open to anyone aged 16 and above. All apprentices will benefit from individual support from business champions and mentors.
Apprentices graduating from the academy will be given the best chance of securing employment at the end of their courses – putting their skills to use straight away. A number of positions will be available with Berkeley and its supply chain at Southall Waterside itself.
“West London has a number of major projects either planned or underway, from Southall Waterside and HS2, to Crossrail and Old Oak Common; training local people will be integral to the success and timely delivery of these projects – and will be an incredible opportunity to build experience and establish desirable skills. West London College is thrilled to be in the position to offer such an incredible facility to the industry,” said Karen Redhead, Chief Executive at West London College.