Video: Scottish construction companies ‘aren’t making the most of support available to them’

Many Scottish construction companies don’t realise there is funding and support available to help them with business growth and resilience, an AM Bid #LinkedInLive session on building resilience help for construction sector SMEs has discussed.

Andrew Morrison from the bid writing specialist spoke to Saffron Grant from Digital Construction Skills for the event, in which the outlined the funding and free support that is available in the UK for construction sector SMEs to become more resilient and grow their businesses.

Micro companies can claim £5000 from the CITB Skills and Training Fund for training which allows them to introduce new skills, improve their business, address challenges or take up new opportunities. SMEs can claim up to £25000 depending on their size.

Saffron Grant, managing director of Digital Construction Skills, said: “Many companies don’t realise how easy it is to apply for this funding, or that there is support available from CITB Advisors, Training Group Officers or even training providers to help identify the most impactful training and complete the application form.

“They also don’t make the connection that they can use the cash for support with digital enablement, leadership training relating to digital transformation, management training, business development accreditation for example Investors In People and coaching and mentoring.”

Digital Construction Skills has been awarded £292,000 from CITB to roll out a programme of fully funded training and support to give leaders of SME and micro businesses the skills they need to drive digital transformation in their company. CITB registered companies can receive up to 8 hours of one-to-one support to help them select and implement the digital tools which will bring them the most benefit. Tier 1 Contractors can nominate 10 of their subcontractors to go through the programme.

Saffron Grant said: “We know SMEs are time poor and don’t even have the time to research the help that is available to them. We also know that it they have traditionally been a difficult audience to reach, so we have made this support as accessible as possible. It is completely free thanks to CITB funding, and there are no forms to fill in.

“It is just a matter of booking ad hoc sessions with one of our digital construction specialists through our website. Sessions can be 30 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours and because we know many SME and micro company Directors and managers are tied up during normal working hours, we are available from 6 in the morning to 10 at night as well as Saturdays and Sundays.”

Apprenticeship levy paying employers can use their £15,000 from the Flexible Workforce Development Fund to add new digital capabilities to their workforce and their leadership team. Originally the fund was only accessible to employers through colleges but has now been extended to include training from private providers. Fife College, City of Glasgow College and Borders College are some of the colleges working with employers to help to add new digital capabilities.

Marc Fleming, academic and quality manager, Faculty of the Built Environment at Fife College, said: “We work with a range of companies from Tier 1’s to SME’s, devising bespoke training solutions that meet their ever-changing business needs. We are very agile in terms of what we offer and how training can be delivered, from Revit/BIM courses to Management Qualifications, we are strongly positioned to help increase business productivity and support economic recovery.”

Many companies don’t realise they are eligible for R&D tax credits or that there is support through Construction Scotland Innovation Centre for companies who want to develop innovative solutions which can give them a competitive edge or help to position them for emerging markets.

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