The new Brickwork Academy, which is being introduced in partnership with colleges and employers, is intended to help address a national shortage of bricklayers.
CITB wants to encourage more of those on college courses in brickwork to go on to join the industry. Currently only a quarter of students on construction-related courses move directly into a construction job, and nearly six in ten (59%) of those who unsuccessfully applied for construction jobs since finishing their course said it was because they lacked the work experience that employers wanted.
Meanwhile, 61% of small and medium-sized construction employers are struggling to recruit bricklayers, according to Federation of Master Builders research.
Brickwork Academy is working with students at Wirral Metropolitan College and Hugh Baird College in the Liverpool city region, and Warwickshire College in the West Midlands, to give them the work experience they need to take up jobs in construction.
The students have been chosen in partnership with participating local employers and are completing an additional seven weeks of practical skills training at their college, along with work experience days on local construction sites.
After this they will spend 24 weeks working on site with their employer, to achieve their NVQ Level 2 brickwork qualification.
In addition to developing their practical trowel skills, the extra college training supports students to be better prepared for the construction sector, covering topics such as employability skills and self-employment.
In Liverpool, the participants will undertake their work experience and additional pre-site training together at the Knowledge Quad, Morgan Sindall’s multi-purpose learning space located on site at the city’s Paddington Village construction project. Following this, the group will undertake their 24-week placements with three projects the company is delivering for Liverpool John Moores University and Merseyside Police.
CITB will evaluate the pilot project and if successful, it could be rolled out to more colleges across the country, and to other construction trades.
Wirral Met student Matthew Wong has progressed from the introduction to the construction stage of the course. He said: “I’ve learned how to build walls, correct use of the trowel, and the mixing of materials. Brickwork Academy involves working for an employer as a trainee bricklayer on their site for nearly six months and this includes getting a salary and doing my NVQ. After this on-site experience I’ll be much more likely to stay in a job as a bricklayer.”