CITB invests in Scottish jobs

The money is intended to support individuals at the start of their career and increase job retention.

Over the course of the three-year Scottish Academy for Construction Opportunities (SACO) commission, participants will be supported in overcoming any initial challenges they may face when starting a new job, as well as being provided with ongoing in-work support. This will include job coaching, mentoring, employer engagement, peer and buddy systems or other support measures.

SACO will target the Highlands and Islands and Scotland Central and Southern, and allow bids to be customised in response to the specific requirements of local construction employers.

CITB said that the initiative has evolved from the lessons learned through the Construction Skills Fund (CSF) and Onsite Experience programmes, previously delivered in England and Wales. Across the two phases of CSF, 20,000 individuals were given the opportunity to work in construction with 62% of those taking part classified as being from non-traditional entry routes.

The earlier initiatives were designed with a focus on enabling job starts but SACO is specifically to help individuals already ‘employment and site ready’ (ESR) and the next phase of their construction career. For this reason, CITB is looking for bids from employers who can work with organisations to provide the relevant training and experience required.

CITB’s annual Construction Skills Network report is due to be published next week. It said that early data suggests annual recruitment requirement in Scotland will increase by over 2% based on 2021 workforce levels. In response to this demand, CITB’s recent Business Plan set out key targets including a focus on both attracting and retaining talent. SACO is one of the initiatives detailed in the plan, acting as a one-stop solution by matching employers with suitable job seekers. In addition, regular reviews will be carried out with individuals in sustained employment for three and six months, alongside tracking up to 12 months, supporting the primary aim of increased retention.

Ian Hughes, CITB engagement director for Scotland, said: “We have watched similar models play out and shaped SACO accordingly, so that it encompasses all of the effective elements, while specifically catering to Scotland’s needs. Knowing what a great impact previous models such as CSF have had, this is an extremely exciting time for Scottish employers to play a role in moulding the future of construction.

“We know we have a huge challenge on our hands with the current skills gap and demand for more workers. We must act now to ensure industry has the workforce it needs, and I urge all employers to consider this great opportunity.”

Scottish government business minister Ivan McKee said: “Investment which aims to support those starting a career in construction and increase retention rates of workers is welcome. At a time when we are facing skills shortages across the construction industry, it has never been more important to invest in growing a skilled staff base.

“Embedding a fair work culture and upskilling the workforce for a digitalised transformation across design, manufacture, construction, and maintenance activities will be required to deliver a decarbonised built environment and become a net zero economy by 2045.”

Two face-to-face events are being held, one for Scotland Central and Southern and one for the Highlands and Islands, in addition to two virtual webinars during the week commencing 13 June.

The commission goes live Monday 20th June. Further details about the events and the initiative can be found on CITB’s website.

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