30 participants undertake The Building Block online during the lockdown

Written by Opportunity Sheffield

Although the coronavirus lockdown has led to a pause in face-to-face course delivery on The Building Block – Sheffield’s construction skills training scheme – Opportunity Sheffield has continued to deliver the learning aspects of the course online.

Sheffield City Council’s employment and skills service has successfully adapted its approach to ensure individuals who are eager to enter the construction industry in 2020 are as well-prepared as possible to meet the entry requirements when circumstances allow.

Over the last two months, 30 people seeking work in the building industry have undertaken The Building Block course online, led by Opportunity Sheffield Vill Powell and Sam Mitchell, and assisted by a package of online videos and resources.

Participants have had access to 1-1 support via Zoom meetings, email correspondence and telephone calls to help them complete the various course modules and prepare for their CSCS Test. CSCS certification is mandatory for anyone wishing to work on a building site in the UK.

Already 15 of the participants have met all the criteria to be booked in for their test, as soon as examination sessions recommence, with the others continuing to work through the course. This is with a view to sitting their test and entering the work placement phase of the programme as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, in the north and east of Sheffield, The Building Block partners are in the process of preparing two separate sites for training delivery with social distancing measures in place. Each will be able to accommodate 10-12 learners while adhering to government guidelines.

It is anticipated that CSCS testing will resume in early June, with the first Building Block online learners able to move onto construction sites to work with employers in July.

Opportunity Sheffield is continuing to accept referrals for The Building Block, a project which has helped hundreds of local people into work since commencing in March 2019. The training scheme was recently recommissioned under the Construction Industry Training Board’s Construction Skills Fund for a further 12 months.

How to refer

For referrals onto The Building Block, please contact John Whittaker, Senior Project Officer, Sheffield City Council

johnwhittaker@lifelonglearningandskills.org (temporary email address during Covid)