THERE ARE “significant concerns over the future” of Level 2 training for the construction sector, according to the British Association of Construction Heads (BACH).
The organisation of college leaders issued its warning in response to the Government’s consultation on scrapping Level 2 and below construction courses and qualifications. The proposal is to only offer Level 3 courses.
“It’s vitally important in construction that milestone progression from entry to and including Level 2 is available, accessible and appropriately funded through study programmes and other routes. Without, it would be devastating for those wishing to access the industry and to get into employment. Entry to Level 2 is a significant part of most Colleges’ construction provision. We also have large numbers of students that have poor or low-level achievements coming from schools that need extra help,” says David Wilkins, Chair of BACH and Director of Construction & Building Services, Bedford College.
Skills shortage and recovery
There are 1.1 million jobs in the construction industry at Level 2 and below. The consultation on ending funding comes at a time when there is already a chronic construction skills shortage. Many new recruits will also be needed in the industry to support Government investment in the recovery from the COVID pandemic.
Level 2 Roofing qualifications
In roofing, most operatives are qualified to level 2 and below, reflecting the most widely required level of competence in the sector.
Michelle Workman on behalf of the National Roof Training Group said: “In roofing, the accepted level of competence is level 2. That’s when qualified roofers obtain a Skilled Worker CSCS card.
“If Level 2 funding is withdrawn the whole system of competence, apprenticeships and qualifications would have to change bringing huge disruption and uncertainty. It would risk the ‘covid generation’ missing out further while the change was implemented”
“While we all want to see skills and knowledge improve, what we don’t want is for people who are good competent workers to be underestimated or overlooked.”
Without having achieved an industry approved qualification or apprenticeship pass, both of which are at level 2 or below, people will be unable to get a CSCS card, barring them from sites and jobs.
Backbone of the industry
“The level 2 and below workforce is a valued and critical backbone of the industry. These are good well-paid jobs that make an enormous contribution to the UK’s economy,” added Graham Hasting-Evans, a Chartered Civil Engineer and President of BACH.
BACH says it “implores the Government and local funding organisation to think very seriously before cutting training in this most important of sectors.”
In construction, most trades are set at level 2 with no natural progression to level 3. Construction learners and apprentices are practically based and often need support through Entry and level 1 to access a level 2 apprenticeship.