BIM Academy, Sunderland-based engineering consultancy Desco and NBS have all signed up to become sponsors of PlanBEE, an apprenticeship scheme designed to attract new talent into the built environment industry.
The scheme is a collaboration between Gateshead College and Ryder Architecture. Together they developed a unique, flexible training programme designed to attract and retain the brightest new talent in the region, plug skills gaps, and create a more flexible workforce capable of working across various construction disciplines.
The first tranche of students enrolled onto the programme in September 2016 and all have been retained, with a second cohort set to start in the autumn.
Rather than follow a traditional training model where students complete their qualifications while working in one company, PlanBEE gives trainees the chance to work across several companies and therefore gain a more rounded understanding of construction.
It is hoped that over time PlanBEE will help address the skills gap in the built environment industry. The Construction Skills Network’s most recent ‘Insight’ report said an extra 179,000 UK construction jobs will need to be filled between 2017 and 2021 to meet rapid growth in demand for infrastructure and housebuilding across the country.
With Desco, NBS and BIM Academy on board it is hoped that students will now benefit from a wider range of expertise
The BIM Academy will take on at least one student from the new intake in September.
Peter Barker, managing director of BIM Academy, said: “BIM Academy are delighted to become a sponsor for PlanBEE as it allows us to share our expertise in the new world of digital construction with the next generation seeking to enter the increasingly diverse and exciting built environment sector.”
Helen Whitfield, chief operating officer at Newcastle-based NBS, said: “We’re delighted to sponsor a scheme that allows companies and students to explore the potential of using digital technologies on construction projects.
“There aren’t many courses that combine the digital world with construction and this gives students a chance to learn several disciplines that will stand them in good stead for their chosen career in the built environment industry.”
Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “We are thrilled to have BIM Academy, Desco and NBS on board at PlanBEE, which is tailored for and led by the specific needs of industry. We are working closely with the sector to ensure that the training provides companies with vital skills that enable them to become more productive and competitive, both now and in the long run.”