Last updated: 05.10.13

Construction training 'must be in line with market's needs'

Training in the construction industry needs to focus more on the needs of the labour market, according to Welsh education watchdog Estyn.

In a new report entitled Training for Construction, Planning and the Built Environment, the body said that further education institutions and work-based learning providers do not always offer courses and qualifications tailored to local employment opportunities in the sector.

It noted that while the rates at which trainees completed diplomas and apprenticeships improved between 2009 and 2011, standards of performance in training for the construction industry are average compared to other learning areas.

The document further revealed that learners do not always receive adequate feedback on their assessments, with literacy skills like spelling, grammar and punctuation not being corrected.

Chief inspector of Estyn Ann Keane said that construction, planning and the built environment are vital to the Welsh economy, but the sector has been impacted by the recession over the past four years, with very few long-term contracts now available.

She added: "Providers need to match their training to local labour market needs because too many full-time learners achieve qualifications but do not gain or sustain employment in the construction industry."

It won't have gone unnoticed by bosses in all major sectors that the rise of technology has led to an increase in uptake of digital methods of learning.

Online training platforms are allowing employers to assess employees' progress using a learning management system that keeps all records in one place, while workers themselves are benefitting from a more flexible approach to their education.

Estyn's recommendations for improving training standards in the industry include doing more to develop effective ties with local employers and making sure the knowledge of teachers, assessors and trainers is regularly updated.

A report published by the Chartered Institute of Building earlier this year revealed that 90 per cent of professionals in the construction sector believe that apprenticeships are vital to plugging skills shortages.