Training drive to help fill building skills gap

Oxford Mail: Toby Smith, 17, from Kidlington, learns Carpentry Level 2 with Adam Marsh from Ace Buy this photo Toby Smith, 17, from Kidlington, learns Carpentry Level 2 with Adam Marsh from Ace

OXFORDSHIRE is suffering from a “chronic shortage” of carpenters and bricklayers, a training expert has warned.

Adam Marsh, managing director of Kidlington-based ACE Training, said: “There will be 30,000 jobs in construction during the next two decades, as 100,000 homes are built across the county.

“A staggering number of people will be needed and Oxfordshire is drastically short of construction skills.”

Mr Marsh’s comments come after the Oxfordshire Skills Board, set up by the Local Enterprise Partnership agency, pledged to boost the number of apprenticeships and kitemark training courses, as well as forging stronger links between schools and businesses.

He added: “Kitemarking could be a good idea, as there are some training providers running brickwork courses where the emphasis has been so strongly on learning English, maths and computer skills that students have left without being able to lay bricks.

“We are in favour of anything that will drive up standards.”

The Skills Board, which includes representatives from local schools, colleges, businesses and the public sector, was tasked with working out what skills will be needed to meet demand as part of the City Deal signed in January, which could see £1.2bn investment and 50,000 new jobs across the county during the next five years.

It identified a shortage of skills in several areas, including construction.

ACE Training, which won the Charity and Community and Business of the Year categories at the recent Cherwell Business Awards, is also shortlisted in the Oxfordshire Business Awards.

Mr Marsh is inviting potential trainees, parents and employers to an open morning on June 21 from 10.30am-1pm to find out more about construction careers.

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