Building Lives was set up by Steve Rawlings in 2010 to help the unemployed after he had made his fortune through his Lakehouse contracting business. It operates 10 training academies across London and has trained thousands of unemployed people.
Mr Rawlings has already invested more than £1m of his own money but with the withdrawal of CITB funding Building Lives now urgently needs an investment of £2m to keep going. Without it, the organisation will have to close, Mr Rawlings said
“Time really is of the essence now,” he said. “We have reacted quickly to redesign our model to attract additional funding so that Building Lives can continue with our goal; to support unemployed Londoners into proper construction jobs. But it’s an extremely worrying time for Building Lives staff and learners.”
He added: “Construction companies need skilled people and quickly. The majority of the London’s construction workforce are self-employed by subcontractors who don’t have the infrastructure, nor appetite to employ apprentices. Yet everyone is complaining we don’t have enough skilled tradespeople.
“I set up Building Lives to try and address the issue of unemployment and a looming skills shortage. Our multi-skilled apprenticeship was only ever a mechanism to do that. Our new model excels both of these outcomes. All I need now is government to get behind this new model with the support of standard funding that is available to colleges. The government and industry must realise their duty to support us.”
CITB delivery and customer engagement director Carl Rhymer said: “Unfortunately, because Building Lives is not an ‘in-scope’ employer it does not sit within the grant scheme rules. This means that we are unable to provide grants for a new intake of Building Lives apprentices.
“However, in the best interest of the learners, we have committed to support all apprentices currently training with Building Lives and enrolled with CITB by January 2015 until they complete their training.”