Costain wins £6m government cash for BIM training

A consortium of construction employers led by Costain has been awarded £6m of central government funding to develop joint training initiatives in BIM and other disciplines.

The matched funding comes through the second round of the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot (EOP2) scheme, set up in 2012 by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education to help employers develop vocational skills and training to meet the needs of their workforce.

The consortium, which also includes BAM Construct, Kier, Barratt Homes, the Federation of Master Builders, and specialist contractors JBM Construction and ARG Mansfield, will use the funds alongside £6m of its own money and £2m of construction levy funding from the CITB to develop joint training programmes in BIM, higher apprenticeships and new pre-apprenticeship traineeships for young people interested in construction.

Jon Spencer, training manager at Costain, lead employer in the consortium, told CM: “BIM is at the forefront of our thinking and we want to design and develop specific awareness and management training suitable to be rolled out to any of the companies in the consortium. We’re hoping that by working together the consortium can gain purchasing power and buy technical training for technicians running systems.”

The funding will also be used to develop higher apprenticeships to prepare people for construction degrees, and new traineeships providing work experience for youngsters interested in construction, as well as longer term programmes to help them develop skills in preparation for an apprenticeship.

A major focus will be on the cross-fertilisation of training and qualifications between companies, said Spencer: “Things these days are often project-driven, with individuals moving from one company to another and from one project to another, so we wanted to develop collaborative training that will provide the same levels of qualification regardless of the company. This will reduce the overall training burden on the sector, whilst giving individuals a nationally-recognised qualification to support their career development.”

EOP2 comprises £238m of funding, out of a total £340m available up to 2015/16. Costain was also one of the successful firms to bid in EOP1, as part of the Construction Employers group, which included Galliford Try, Lend Lease, Lovell, Vinci and Wates Group. (see our story here)

That group is currently delivering £18m worth of training projects, covering every aspect of training, from pre-employment courses for young people, to technical training on BIM or sustainable building and MBA-level management training.

Balfour Beatty also made a successful bid for EOP2 funding, securing support for a new training “academy” that will deliver training for its own staff and supply chain partners.

However, it’s understood that a bid co-ordinated by the Construction Industry Council did not proceed past the initial expression of interest phase, as the requirement for matched funding proved a sticking point. Click here for our previous story

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