Building a safer, more sustainable future through technical learning and education – FE News

A major report on how world-class skills training will help the construction industry boost the safety, sustainability and mental health of its workforce has been unveiled today.
The findings of the Construction Route Review have been published by the Institute for Technical Learning and Education (IfATE).

A major report on how world-class skills training will help the construction industry boost the safety, sustainability and mental health of its workforce has been unveiled today.

The findings of the Construction Route Review have been published by the Institute for Technical Learning and Education (IfATE). Jennifer Coupland, CEO of IfATE, said:

“I am pleased to present this report following our extensive review with employers. It explains how apprenticeships, T-levels, higher technical qualifications (HTQs) and continuing education will keep pace with the rapidly changing skill needs of this vital sector, enhance building safety standards and play a essential in the evolution of perceptions and working methods around sustainability and mental health.

The report acknowledges how the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, which killed 72 people, caused widespread scrutiny of quality and safety in the construction industry. Actions were taken under the 2018 Building a Safer Future report, Building Safety Bill and last year’s BSI Flex 8670 Code of Practice. A new building safety regulator has also been put in place by the Health and Safety Executive.

Yet the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG) warned in January that despite excellent progress by some agencies and employers, industry-wide change has been too slow. The route review, led by our panel of employer route experts, identified how wider adoption of world-class training tailored to industry needs should advance the additional seismic changes needed.

It’s a similar story with sustainability. The sector currently accounts for almost 40% of energy consumption, over 30% of carbon emissions and nearly half of total resource use. The report says that while this is disheartening, it means the sector has huge potential to reduce global emissions if future generations are given the right training. It sets out how we will work with the UK Green Building Council to integrate its education and learning priorities into future apprenticeships and all technical qualifications.

Another important issue highlighted by the report is mental health. According to the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), men working in construction are three times more likely to commit suicide than men on average. They cite reasons why construction is a high-risk industry, with many physical and structural problems. The Route Review is committed to ensuring CIOB recommendations are incorporated into the employer-defined professional standards that will shape all of our future training programs.

The report highlights equality and diversity, digital skills needs and modern construction methods as other key principles that will guide the design of apprenticeships, T-levels and technical qualifications.

It specifies that priority will be given to the development of new occupational standards for the following occupations:

  • Renovation Coordinator
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Geoscientist
  • steeplejack
  • Other renovation trades

IfATE can also confirm that our route name for the sector will be expanded to “Construction and Built Environment”. This better reflects the professional standards contained in the route and the terminology used by the sector as well as higher and higher education partners.

Tanja Smith, employer expert and route panel chair, said:

“This route review will ensure that the occupational standards underpinning all apprenticeships, T-levels and HTQs provide the sector with the right skills for the future. They should expand opportunities for all and incorporate an ethical and collaborative approach to work and sustainability, with a strong focus on promoting well-being, both of themselves and of others.

A major report on how world-class skills training will help the construction industry boost the safety, sustainability and mental health of its workforce has been unveiled today.
The findings of the Construction Route Review have been published by the Institute for Technical Learning and Education (IfATE).

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