BuildSkill – Striving to raise standards in construction

How BuildSkill are using years of bricklaying training experience to build the future of the construction industry

There have been many changes to the construction landscape in the last twenty years with concerns around sustainability becoming increasingly prioritised and the demand for new skills and knowledge is higher than ever for both those new to the industry and existing professionals. Established in 2013 as a specialist bricklaying training provider, BuildSkill have learned to evolve to meet the changing needs of employers and learners in the construction industry, with a diverse training offering spanning from entry-level courses for those entering the field for the first time to upskilling programmes designed for more experienced workers.

Adapting to industry needs

BuildSkill’s philosophy has always been to offer training that is both employer and learner led. In practice, this means staying ahead of the curve in terms of knowing the demands of the industry. “We want to futureproof ourselves but more importantly we want to futureproof our learners, so we need to deliver training that develops not just the skills that employers are looking for now but also the skills that they are going to need in the future.” Head of Quality, Compliance and Curriculum for BuildSkill Shane Carter explained.

With UK government net zero targets looming, sustainability and carbon neutrality are becoming more and more central to construction practices both domestically and commercially and training needs to be adapted to reflect that. For BuildSkill one decision this has led to is the introduction of City & Guilds retrofitting qualifications. Retrofitting refers to the process of upgrading technology or features of existing buildings to make them more energy efficient, a process that can encompass tasks like fitting insulation and installing heat pumps in homes or in public and private buildings.

Supporting a range of learners

BuildSkill learners imageWith cohorts consisting of very new learners with little or no experience, individuals who have moved to the UK and don’t have the right qualifications and more experienced employees sent by employers from larger organisations for upskilling, BuildSkill have a wide range of learners to cater for. This variety of learners means that BuildSkill need to be able to offer qualifications across many levels, covering the full breadth of skills and knowledge needed for a vast array of projects and deliver training that provides both theoretical and practical development to learners.

All of these factors need to be taken into account when selecting which qualifications to offer. “We offer training for everyone from 14–16-year-olds to adults many years into their careers so for individuals with hugely different needs. With some retrofitting courses we find that it’s too focused on the domestic side and we’ve also found that even with more interest in training experiences like bootcamps, it’s still important for learners to end their training with a qualification and even better if that’s a qualification with a known name like City & Guilds.” Shane commented. 

"Completing a retrofit qualification has expanded my horizons—I'm now considering becoming a retrofit assessor. My motivation stems from a desire to contribute to environmental conservation and enhance energy efficiency in our homes. Learning about PAS2035 and its principles for sustainable building modifications was enlightening, but what truly fascinated me was underground heat pumps." 

- BuildSkill learner

Making a positive impact through skills development

With the construction industry battling growing skills gaps and an ageing workforce while also under pressure to meet higher environmental standards, organisations like BuildSkill play a vital role in the sector landscape and this is a responsibility that they take seriously as a training provider. Being able to support the development of individuals, businesses and the industry as a whole through the training that they offer is central to BuildSkill’s ethos and retrofitting qualifications are another way to support their goal of making the industry better.

BuildSkill learners imageBy maintaining a learner-centric approach, using strong industry partnerships that have been developed over many years and providing training that incorporates interactive content and real-world examples, BuildSkill is paving the way for a more skilled, more diverse and more future-ready construction workforce to take the lead as the industry continues to move into the future.

Shane added “Being able to offer training that makes the industry better and that has a positive impact on the environment is really important to us. Where there are challenges, we want to see opportunities and this and the other projects we’re working on like encouraging young people to get into construction and helping women to feel that this sector is the place for them are part of our commitment to making the construction industry a safer, more innovative and more enriching environment.”

Find out more about BuildSkill here

Find out more about City & Guilds retrofitting qualifications here