June 17, 2024

The Association of Brickwork Contractors wins homebuilding commission contract to deliver a brickwork upskilling programme

The Association of Brickwork Contractors (The ABC) is thrilled to have won the tender for a three-year contract of funding from The CITB, the industries’ training board for the construction sector in England, Scotland, and Wales. Commissioned to deliver a Brickwork Upskilling Programme, the aim is to help retain existing bricklayers, support college learners, and increase productivity within the wider homebuilding sector.

The ABC has been delivering training and qualifications through The ABC Assessment Centre (The ABCAC) since 2018 and has supported over 1,500 bricklaying students to gain employment over the past three years. Their comprehensive and practical onsite training programmes have also supported 800 experienced bricklayers, on Tier 1 construction sites, to evidence competency in specific areas of bricklaying not supported by current curriculums.

Earlier this year, CITB reported that an estimated 4,000 additional workers, including bricklayers, are needed per year to reach the UK government’s key homebuilding targets. This highlights the increased necessity of commissioning The ABC to extend and escalate The ABC Assessment Centre’s training model. The extension will see The ABC Assessment Centre reach 21 colleges, including those in Scotland and Wales, with an intent to train 2,000 learners in areas of bricklaying that will help them gain employment. The ABC Assessment Centre will also work with major House Builders to implement its learning and development model with their supply chains.

In order to inject added value into the programme and to reflect work carried out on site, The ABCAC is utilising its robust partnerships with stakeholders who have also pledged to provide FOC products, educational displays and equipment for the students and colleges. Bespoke training frames, installed at every college, provide students with the opportunity to gain hands-on bricklaying experience within their own learning environment. The enhanced learning opportunity and ability to get hands-on with the very latest products is unique to The ABC Assessment Centre. Boosting the provisions in colleges will also form the basis of The ABCAC’s Train the Trainer programme. Through the commission and utilising their own training centres, The ABCAC will be sharing knowledge and best practices with over 40 brickwork tutors across the country to sustain their delivery of the Brickwork Upskilling Programme. This is fundamental to the project’s sustainability and vital for the confident self-delivery in colleges of the skills included in the programme. These skills are required by new apprenticeship standards and without their inclusion in curriculums further education will fail to meet industry and standard requirements. With the support given by businesses within the industry, through the provision of materials and training frames, essential skills can be taught effectively. 

Eve Livett, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Brickwork Contractors, says: “We are looking forward to working with Housebuilders and using our model to heighten productivity by improving skills, knowledge and behaviours on their sites as well as continuing our work in colleges and extending our reach into Scotland, Wales and the South-West. 

“We have the most knowledgeable Brickwork Trainers, and I am proud of all they have achieved so far. I am confident that their hard work will be successful in bringing more skilled workers into the industry – something that is needed to support government targets.”

Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, adds: “I’m delighted to see The Association of Brickwork Contractors secure this funding, enabling thousands of workers to upskill and, crucially, help meet the needs of the homebuilding pipeline. This initiative supports the wider Homebuilding Sector Skills Plan, delivering an exciting programme of sector-specific skills initiatives, which will truly put employers in the driving seat.

“By responding to the needs of the sector and working collaboratively with a range of partners and stakeholders, CITB continues to support the construction industry to have a skilled, competent and inclusive workforce, now and in the future.”