“Thank you… the best training day I have experienced over the years…”

Established in 2000, East Sussex contractor S J Homewood specialise in groundworks, bricklaying, paving and landscaping.

Stuart Homewood, the company’s Managing Director, is passionate about ensuring his workforce receive training to both enhance their skills and ensure they remain safe on site. S J Homewood asked Construction Skills People to deliver a CITB training course, which resulted in a 100% pass rate and the following testimonial from Stuart Homewood:

“Thank you Ian. Your programme for yesterday’s Health and Safety Awareness training course was one of the best, if not THE best training day I have experienced over the years. It had a good feel to it the guys learnt a lot. I think and you made it interesting and kept them all involved and taking part. They are a great bunch of guys and I’m sure you have had some right horrors over the years. I was very impressed with the whole setup and the relaxed, professional approach of the course. We will be in touch again soon to book some more training.”

Blakedown Sport & Play invests in upskilling over half of its workforce with Construction Skills People as it heads towards growth

Blakedown Sport & Play, one of the UK’s largest and longest established sports facility construction contractors, has invested in upskilling more than half of its workforce as 60 employees undertook vital construction training with Construction Skills People (CSP).

In an initiative funded by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), 60 out of Blakedown’s 104 employees completed a Level 2 Plant Operations NVQ in order to improve their staff levels, knowledge and to help act as a stepping-stone for more employees to advance from their Red Trained Operator Card to a Blue Competent Operator Card.

As an industry-leading provider of training, CSP supported Blakedown’s employees, offering in-depth industry knowledge to guide them through the NVQ and ensure CPCS compliance.

As a result of investing in training, the 60 newly trained employees can now work on main contractor sites, giving the company a more flexible workforce.

Janine Richards, Group HSEQ Manager at Blakedown, said: “We’re thrilled that more than a half of our workforce have completed their Level 2 Plant Operations NVQ.

“It’s brilliant for each employee’s professional development, but also for the business as a whole as we now have more staff who have the correct qualifications to work on main contractor sites. Before we had less staff who could undertake this level of work, so now we are much more flexible.

“It was a very smooth process, and our staff have more confidence and knowledge now. We’ll be looking to book more training in the new year.”

Stuart Anderson Client Services Director at Construction Skills People, said: “We were proud to deliver this programme and to give Blakedown employees the opportunity to gain this valuable training and secure their Blue Competent Operator Card.

“Having a strong team of highly skilled and confident workers will no doubt bolster Blakedown’s growth objectives moving forward, as well as furthering the capabilities of their workforce.”


More training needed to prevent avoidable accidents, says construction training experts

It’s well known that construction can be a dangerous field of work, but health and safety training and regulations are there to make the risk as minimal as possible.

Then why is it that countless people are still being fatally injured whilst working on site?

For example, a man died on a building site after being ‘buried alive’. A trench designed to take drainage pipes collapsed on his head as he worked to build new homes. He was buried in earth and rubble and suffered severe blunt force trauma to his head, which caused a large skull fracture, from which he died.

Apparently, the trench had not been dug in a safe way, but this was unknown to the man in question.

Another man died last year after he entered into a construction area and stepped onto a blue tarpaulin that was placed to prevent rainwater entering the basement. He fell into the void and sustained a fatal laceration to the neck. There was no signage or fencing warning of this void.

Life changing accidents are also commonplace, with one scaffolding company being ordered to pay out more than £60,000 after a worker was crushed by a forklift truck. An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that the company has failed to train employees in the safe operation of forklift trucks and had also failed to provide adequate supervision.

With the extend of training available to construction workers – in fact it’s just been announced that the sector will be getting £22m government funding to train workers – there really is no excuse for workers not being adequately trained to work safely on site.

Stuart Anderson, the Client Services Director at Construction Skills People, said: “It’s sad always see news about workers being fatally injured on site. Many of these incidents could have been avoided if proper health and safety measures had been in place – it’s literally a life and death situation.

“We’re the country’s largest provider of commercial and government funded training to the UK’s construction sector, and if anyone looking to undertake any construction training they should get in contact with us on 0800 130 3225.”

Latest HSE stats reveals ‘worrying’ construction industry fatality figures

The latest stats from the Health and Safety Executive have highlighted that the construction industry is the worst industry for fatal injuries. Out of 144 workers killed in the UK in 2017/18, 38 (26%) of them were working in construction.

The most common fatal accident was falling from height, with 35 out of 144 sector wide deaths being accountable to this. This number has increased, compared to 27 fatal injuries from this kind of accident in 2016/17.

Being struck by a moving vehicle was the second most common accident, accounting for 26 fatal injuries across all industries, which has seen a slight decline from 2016/17, where 30 fatal injuries were recorded.

Despite the new 2017/18 stats looking bad for the construction sector, especially with the rate of fatal injury in construction being around four times as high as the average rate across all industries – it’s actually considerably less than the rate in either Agriculture or Waste and Recycling when being compared to the annual average rates for 2013/14 per 100,000 workers, despite accounting for a greater number of cases than these sectors.

Furthermore, the stats revealed that the UK consistently has one of the lowest rates of fatal injuries across the EU.

Stuart Anderson at Construction Skills People (CSP), a national leading training provider for the construction sector, said: “Whilst it’s great news that the UK has one of the lowest fatal injury rates across the EU, we can’t ignore that the construction industry accounts for the highest number of fatal injuries.

“It’s particularly worrying that the most common cause of accidental death in the workplace is falling from height – accidents of that nature can often be avoided with the right training.

“To help reduce the risks associated with working at heights, we provide a range of training courses to minimise the risk that operatives and their managers face when undertaking this type of work.

“We’d encourage anyone who is unsure of how to safely work at height, or unsure of anything when working on site, to contact us to book some training.”

Earlier this year, the All Party Parliamentary Group for ‘Working at Height’ launched an investigation into the root causes of incidents in a bid to drive down the number of serious injuries and fatalities that occur annually.

Over 60 responses were received from industry organisations, including leading international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty.

The committee, which is Chaired by Scottish National Party member Alison Thewliss, are now awaiting a report outlining the findings, following which it will ‘seek to propose effective, sensible measures’ to reduce the toll and ‘send people safely home from work’.

Stuart Anderson said: “These latest HSE statistics reinforce, once again, the devastating and often avoidable consequences of such incidents which cannot be ignored, and we look forward to reading the findings of this initial investigation and to hearing what measures for prevention the APPG members are going to put forward.”

Established in 2008, CSP is the leading provider of vocational construction qualifications and training courses across the UK.

Highways England’s £8.7bn framework: 13 winning contractors revealed

13 winning contractors have been announced by Highways England for its £8.7bn Regional Delivery Partnership framework.

The new framework will form the foundation of Highways England’s relationship with the supply chain for the second UK Road Investment Strategy until 2024.

The framework has been split into eight regional lots, with 1-3 covering individual packages worth under £100m, and 4-8 involving packages worth more than £100m.

It will see the newly appointed regional partners deliver schemes such as road widening and junction improvements.

Costain, a smart infrastructure company, secured two of the highest value lots of the framework – and will work on projects on English motorways and major A roads from 2018 to 2024.

Other winners include Galliford Try, Skanska, Balfour Beatty and Kier.

Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “Routes to Market represents a fundamental change in the way we deliver road projects.  It will be performance rather than price based, focusing on building the right projects with the best outcomes for road users and the communities we serve. 

“It demands a major step up in our supply chain, to embrace innovation and team work and in their ability to deliver value.”

Contractors have been guaranteed an initial package of work under each lot, with other contracts being awarded either on a direct award basis or under a mini competition.

The firms will be expected to undertake a variety of different actions, from design to offering specialist advice on costings and future maintenance, or inspection requirements and provision, and enabling works to digital platform transformations.

Stuart Anderson, the Client Services Director at Construction Skills People, said: “It’s great that these highly skilled contractors have been awarded such great opportunities in the construction sector. Hopefully their expertise and proficiency will see a successful partnership, and the improvement of many of our roads.

“Contracts like these don’t get awarded without a highly knowledgeable and able workforce, and being safely trained in the construction industry is a huge must to secure this kind of work. Anyone working in the construction sector who would like to undertake some further training should contact us to find out more information.”

Digital technology could transform construction – but only if the sector is equipped with the right skills and knowledge.

The need for digitalisation in the construction sector has long been a hot topic, but it has recently hit the headlines again with a new report from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) called unlocking construction’s digital future: A skills plan for industry.

The report details that without a widespread implementation of digital technology, there is a risk of marginalisation and detracting a new generation of promising talent from the industry. However, it also outlines that for the successful adoption of digital technology, the sector needs to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge.

Upskilling construction workers and recruiting new talent could help utilise big opportunities and prospects for the use of digital technology – which in turn could improve productivity, efficiency and profitability.

To build up the report, interviews with 35 organisations in England, Scotland and Wales were undertaken.

Speaking to pbctoday, Steve Radley, Director of Policy at CITB, said: “There is no question that construction needs to upskill and recruit new talent to harness the huge opportunities digital technologies present. It’s not too late, but it won’t happen without rapid action.

“Our report shows that the lack of common understanding on what digital construction actually means is part of the problem. Industry has to be clear on its definition and what skills employees will need. Sharing best practice will be critical.

“We will work with industry to agree on digital skills goals and a plan of action to achieve them. If we can do that, British construction can become more productive, more profitable and more attractive to the talented workers it needs”.

Stuart Anderson, the Client Services Director at Construction Skills People, said: “Upskilling has always been an important driving force in the construction industry, but now with the pressing potential of digital technology, businesses should push even more to make sure their workers are equipped with the correct skills and knowledge.

“At Construction Skills People, we offer a wide range of vocational qualifications and commercial training courses specifically for the construction sector. Any business looking to upskill their employees should contact us to find out more information.”

Construction training experts welcome campaign to reduce industry lung damage risk

Leading construction industry training provider Construction Skills People has welcomed a campaign that has been launched to find out what firms operating within the industry are doing to protect their workers’ health, particularly over exposure to dust and damage to lungs.

Although today the health complications associated with dust exposure are much more widely known, by no means has that eliminated the health risk that substances such as asbestos, silica and wood dust still pose.

As part of a campaign to tackle the issue, The Health and Safety Executive announced this month that inspections will be held which, for the first time, will shine a light on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease.

Inspectors attending sites across the country throughout October will be looking at the measures businesses have in place to protect their workers – specifically looking for evidence of construction workers knowing the risks and to check they are using the right controls.

 If necessary the teams will use enforcement to ensure staff are protected.

HSE’s Peter Baker, chief inspector of construction, said: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are killed in construction accidents.

“Annually, work-related cancers, mainly linked to asbestos and silica, are estimated to kill 3,500 people from the industry.

“Thousands of others suffer life-changing illnesses from their work. Not all lung diseases take years to develop. Some, like acute silicosis or occupational asthma, can occur more quickly.

“We want construction workers to be aware of the risks associated with the activities they carry out on a daily basis, be conscious of the fact their work may create hazardous dust and consider how this could affect their health, in some cases irreversibly.”

Stuart Anderson, the Client Services Director at Construction Skills People, said: “It is important to recognise that these potentially damaging dusts and substances are a common find on construction sites, but ensuring workers know the correct health and safety procedures and are trained to deal with such situations will help to mitigate the risk.

“At Construction Skills People, we offer a wide range of vocational qualifications and commercial training courses specifically for the construction sector, and our in-depth industry knowledge allows us to advise our clients through the complex minefield of Health & Safety legislation and regulation.

“Any business looking to enrol their employees in a health and safety course should contact us to find out more information.”

Funding boost to provide construction workers with access to ‘vital’ training

Leading construction training provider Construction Skills People has secured funding that will enable access to vital industry qualifications for construction workers in key regions across the country.

Workers based in Dorset, Stoke & Staffordshire, Swindon & Wiltshire and Northamptonshire will all be able to access the training, which is designed to increase safety, efficiency and productivity on construction sites.

According to Construction Skills People, the fully funded training is available to companies looking to put their staff through a construction related Level 2 NVQ Qualification, leading to CSCS or CPCS cards for successful participants.

Widely regarded as the leading skills certification schemes within the UK construction industry, the CSCS & CPCS card schemes provide assurances that card holders have the required levels of competency to carry out their work on site.

Construction Skills People, which has access to both UK and European Government funding allowing it to deliver more construction related NVQs than any other training provider in the UK, is now calling on construction contractors to reach out to register their interest.

Andy Sheppard, Funding and Levy Manager at Construction Skills People, said: “Access to this training and the subsequent qualifications provides construction workers, and their employees, with a whole host of benefits – from driving efficiencies on site, through to increasing safety and reducing risk.

“The training is fully funded, and is a key step in helping the UK’s construction workforce to develop key skills and gain an impressive qualification that will benefit their career.”

If you are a company in any of the above areas, looking to qualify your staff through the CSCS/CPCS Card Scheme, please contact Emma or Rebecca at Construction Skills People on 01246 589444 Ext 715 or 607.

Chesterfield Training Provider On Track For Fundraising Target

Construction Skills People’s Stuart Brown with his medal, having completed the Shine Night Walk London to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Chesterfield-based construction training provider, Construction Skills People (CSP), is well on its way to reaching its fundraising target of £10,000 in 2018/19, thanks to the efforts of its employees who have carried out a host of gruelling activities on behalf of a quartet of worthy causes.

With just shy of £5,000 already in the bag – 50% of which has been raised by staff members, which was further matched by the business – the most recent challenge saw CSP’s Internal Quality Assurer, Stuart Brown, take on the 26.2 mile Shine Night Walk London to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

Completing the daunting task in just over 11 hours, Stuart managed to raise an impressive £546, which was doubled by CSP.

This adds to the rapidly rising figure, which now sits at 50% of the company’s target; with £1391 already donated to Ashgate Hospicecare – the company’s official charity of the year – and £2200 helping to fund vital machinery for the Nottingham Breast Institute.

Commenting on his recent efforts at the Shine Night Walk London, Stuart Brown, said: “I initially signed up as a personal challenge as I hate walking, but I also knew that I could raise some money for a worthwhile cause.

“I took on the challenge with four other friends. We started at 9.50pm on the Saturday night, and completed it in 11 hours and nine minutes which wasn’t bad considering there was torrential rain and winds for the last six or seven miles.

“I’m delighted that my employer was able to match the money I raised, and I am proud of what we’ve managed to raise so far this year as a company.”

CSP Client Services Director, Stuart Anderson, said: “This is a fantastic amount raised for very worthwhile causes, and so we’re really proud of all our employees. We wanted to contribute to the effort they put in, so we are very proud to bolster donations.

“This latest fundraising initiative takes our total raised for the year to just a few pounds under the £5000 mark, and we are looking forward to further bolstering that figure in the coming months.

“We hope we can take that number up to £10,000 by April.”

To date, CSP employees have raised funds for Ashgate Hospice with sponsored walks and bake sales, a Sparkle Night Walk, and a ‘Woofs and Wellies’ sponsored walk, with the money raised going towards supporting the families of people with life threatening or terminal illness.

One employee also took part in a gruelling 19-hour, 200 mile bike ride from Edinburgh to Newcastle to raise funds for the Nottingham Breast Institute.

Every penny raised by employees has been matched by CSP, totalling £4992 to date.

Established in 2008, CSP is the leading provider of vocational construction qualifications and training courses across the UK.