CONSTRUCTION COULD BE ABOUT to benefit from a wave of new recruits after an education support scheme was given £6m to bring in more than 2,000 new entrants.
The new Housing, Construction and Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway is being supported by the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal and funded by Scottish government with the money over the next seven years.
The HCI Skills Gateway includes an exciting and diverse range of short work-ready courses in renewable energy for homes, installing electric vehicle charging points, highways and roads infrastructure, environmental technologies and engagement with school pupils.
According to the UK government Foresight report on future cities, south east Scotland is the fastest growing region in Scotland and fifth fastest in the UK.
With an anticipated 145,000 new homes to be built over the next two decades, it marks a 40% increase in new housing supply compared with the 20 years prior to the recession.
The HCI Skills Gateway is being delivered by the region’s universities and colleges.
Professor Sean Smith of Edinburgh Napier University, who leads the HCI Skills Gateway, said, “This is the start of a step change in support across the region to enable and support our future workforce and net-zero ambitions.
“This inclusive growth support will provide an attractive route into future job opportunities and career pathways and we are particularly keen to support unemployed entering this sector, attracting more women into construction and engineering and supporting existing employees with new skills.”
Napier’s Institute for Sustainable Construction has forecast a construction skills shortage of more than 3,500 in the region in the coming years.
CEO of Fife Council, Steve Grimmond, who chairs the City Region Deal’s Integrated Regional Employability and Skills Board said, “The HCI project demonstrates the regional reach for both urban and rural areas of this City Region Deal.
“This is one of seven flagship projects to support inclusive communities and regional growth and it is positive, given our sustainable development ambitions, that so many of these work-ready courses are aligned to our future low carbon infrastructure”.
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Michael Matheson said: “The Scottish Government’s £300m investment to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal includes a £25m commitment to improving skills within the region. I’m delighted to see that the HCI skills gateway is set to benefit thousands of people in the years to come, helping to create the expertise that we need in the Housing, Construction and Infrastructure sectors in order to achieve a sustainable, carbon-free future for Scotland.
“This is further demonstration of the wide-sweeping benefits of City Deals and Growth Deals, which the Scottish Government has now committed more than £1.8 billion to, including our additional investment.”
Much of the HCI wave 1 support will be provided through further education partners including Edinburgh, West Lothian, Fife and Scottish Borders colleges working in collaboration with industry and public sector.