Birmingham TechBac Pioneer celebrates first year

South and City College, Balfour Beatty, and City & Guilds get together to celebrate first year as national TechBac Pioneer

23 October 2015 / Be the first to comment

16th October 2015: Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure Group, joined City & Guilds, a global leader in skills development, to visit students on a pioneering course at South and City College Birmingham aimed at addressing the skills gap in the construction sector.

South and City College Birmingham is one of the first in the country to offer the City & Guilds Construction TechBac, a course developed in partnership with employers from the construction industry to ensure that it truly meets their needs. Balfour Beatty is one of the employers offering work experience to the young people studying the Construction TechBac, giving crucial hands on experience to ensure they are work ready.

Mike Reade, Balfour Beatty Delivery Unit Manager, said: “Work placements and apprenticeships are absolutely core to our company’s ethos and we are passionate about delivering opportunities for the communities that we serve. We were keen to get involved when we heard about the TechBac as we know the positive impact that work experience makes to young people when they are looking for employment, and the skills and insight it helps them to develop.

“The young people who have been coming to work on our site are hardworking, keen and eager to learn. It’s exciting to be part of shaping the next generation of workers.”

With extensive housebuilding planned to tackle housing shortages and major civil projects like HS2 on the horizon, there is expected to be huge demand for construction workers, with 250,000 new workers needed by 2020 according to the recently released National Infrastructure Plan for Skills. Despite this, businesses are finding it difficult to recruit as young people are not choosing to work in growing industries like construction.

South and City College Birmingham Principal Mike Hopkins said: “As the education lead for the Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership I understand the vital importance of working with heads of industry and local businesses, understanding and meeting their needs. After all there’s very little point in providing learners with skills if they aren’t the ones that employers need.

“We decided to pilot the Construction TechBac at South and City College Birmingham because it’s a new and engaging curriculum that has that all important focus on preparing learners for the real world of work. Of course it gives them the technical skills they need to be proficient in their jobs but it also has a focus on developing the softer skills such as communication and team work needed to create well rounded employees. We expect to see the learners from this inaugural course as captains of the construction industry in the coming years.”Patrick Craven, Director of Assessment Policy, Research & Compliance at City & Guilds said: “The TechBac was developed with employers to ensure it meets their needs. It enables learners to develop, recognise and showcase the technical and professional skills and behaviours that employers told us they need to progress in the jobs market and provides employers with people who can hit the ground running when they start work. The TechBac is also a great platform to progress into high-level professional and technical education that takes a young person all the way from level 2 to degree level and beyond.”

South and City College Birmingham is a TechBac Pioneers who has been running a pilot of the course since September 2014. Their college’s first class of learners will graduate in June 2016.

The TechBac will rollout nationally in September 2016 in 12 different subject areas ranging from engineering to digital. To find out more visit

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