‘The Building Block’ secures CITB funding for Phase 2 in 2020-21

Sheffield’s flagship construction industry training programme ‘The Building Block’ will run
for a second year following a successful funding application to the Construction Industry
Training Board (CITB).

A consortium of partners led by Opportunity Sheffield – the employment and skills service
within Sheffield City Council – will receive £525,048 from CITB’s Construction Skills Fund to
finance Phase 2 of the programme in 2020-2021.

This will allow the continued training and education of entry-level construction
professionals, helping to meet increased demand for trade skills across the city. With 10,000
new properties in the pipeline over the next ten years, hundreds of new house-building
roles are set to be created.

During Phase 1 of ‘The Building Block’, which centred around eastern Sheffield, 620 people
entered the programme, of which 260 successfully moved into paid employment.
Phase 2 during 2020-21 will see an extension of the programme into the north of the city,
where Opportunity Sheffield site partners are set to include Keepmoat, ENGIE, Vistry
Partnerships and United Living.

Online training during Covid-19 outbreak

Following strict enforcement of social distancing on 19 March, classroom teaching and on-
site work experience is currently suspended on ‘The Building Block’.

However, Opportunity Sheffield continues to offer candidates the chance to sign up and
undertake the learning aspects of the programme, ensuring they are well-placed to gain
their CSCS Card and move on-site as soon as conditions allow.

For the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown, Opportunity Sheffield tutors will support
learners with a combination of online study modules and live-stream sessions. Candidat
will receive full, remote support from their tutor, including daily video conferences for the
duration of the two-week course.

With online training now available, Opportunity Sheffield is actively recruiting for Phase 2 of
‘The Building Block’. The service is seeking referrals and direct applications from candidates
who have access to the internet and the ability to study online.

Potential candidates are invited to complete an online registration form for ‘The Building
Block’, which can be accessed at the following location: http://tinyurl.com/shefbb

Gareth Urwin, Programme Co-ordinator, The Building Block, said:

“Following the success of Phase 1 of ‘The Building Block’, which saw 260 local people moveinto employment within Sheffield’s construction industry, we are delighted to secure CITB
funding for the second phase of this innovative programme.

“As new building sites open in the north of the city, demand will only increase for
construction industry professionals, incorporating a wide range of trades. ‘The Building
Block’ has a key role to play in meeting this demand, by attracting entry-level candidates, supporting them through their CSCS Test and arranging crucial on-site work experience with
local employers.

“While the Covid-19 shutdown creates challenges for ‘The Building Block’– and the
construction sector as a whole – our online teaching model will enable candidates to
undertake vital learning towards their CSCS Test, fully supported by Opportunity Sheffield
tutors. As soon as construction work resumes in Sheffield, we aim to have a strong supply of
candidates ready to move on-site and towards sustainable employment within the industry.”