Gary Logan: Byte-sized training to unlock Scottish construction productivity gains
Gary Logan, chair of the Building Contractor Training Group (BCTG), explains how the training group is addressing the skills shortage, thanks to CITB funding.
It’s well understood that the construction industry faces a shortage of skilled workers. To get round this, all industry stakeholders need to work together to come up with innovative and effective solutions. We need to place a stronger focus on the skills and training needs of the sector – particularly digital and online – in order to attract and retain a construction industry workforce which is fit for the future.
Skills gaps – especially at supervisory level – can lead to significantly reduced efficiency and productivity. BCTG’s job is to work with businesses of all sizes to deliver accredited training courses to make sure we maximise their skills potential. With supervisors in mind, we looked to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Flexible and Structured fund to help create a suite of learning courses aimed at improving efficiency and productivity.
We conducted a lot of research, including various focus groups with supervisors and college students. We found that the balance of work and learning can often prove challenging for both business and employees. It was therefore essential that we incorporated digital learning platforms as a solution to this potential barrier. We then devised 20 short e-learning modules, focused on three key areas: construction-based skills, soft skills and digital skills.
Each course takes approximately 90 minutes to complete with a short assessment section, giving users the chance to attain accreditation with a digital ‘badge’. The short modules aim to provide a taster session into the subject, with resources and links to additional training for those who are interested in progressing further.
Having recently been trialled and tested, BCTG will soon move to a live platform where the e-learning modules are readily available and free to access via mobile, tablet and laptop. We are also in the process of developing the content as an e-book, allowing offline access.
User feedback in the testing process showed that ease of access is an important aspect for construction supervisors and site managers, who prefer to stay on-site and arrange their work schedules around undertaking the modules as and when they can.
Construction, like so many other sectors, is not without its challenges. Nevertheless, this is a time of exciting transformation. We are very much looking forward to delivering our training to support construction businesses, helping to unlock performance and productivity gains.