June 13, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Boost for Cornwall’s construction skills with £3.34m Good Growth investment

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Cornwall’s construction industry is set to receive a boost from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme with a £3.34m investment in skills and training to create job opportunities for local people and meet growing demand.

The project involves Cornwall Council, the Cornwall College Group and Truro and Penwith College. It includes investment in new facilities to provide more education and training in the construction industry on college sites in St Austell, Camborne, and Truro.

Funding for the project has come from the Good Growth Programme which is managed by Cornwall Council and funded by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, which aims to help level up communities across the UK.

It will work with people of all ages to create opportunities in the construction sector and focus on the growing demand for green construction skills as part of the drive to net zero.

Cllr Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, said:

“This Good Growth investment will increase opportunities for people across Cornwall in an important part of our economy, raising skills and boosting wages. By investing in new facilities our Colleges can expand what they offer and equip local people with the skills that the growing industry needs.”

The construction industry is worth £900m a year to Cornwall’s economy and employs around 15,000 people in 3,800 enterprises, which is around 6.1% of employment and 15% of businesses in Cornwall.

And with a development pipeline of at least £2.2 billion estimated over the next decade, Cornwall needs to expand its construction sector to capture the value of those developments and ensure that local people have the skills to deliver them.

Forecasts say the industry will need more than 600 new entrants per year to meet that demand and offset people retiring from the industry.

There is also growing demand for green skills in the sector. With new regulations and new technology aimed at decarbonising the built environment, it is estimated that around 30% of the current construction workforce will need to update their skills.

Jon Ninnes, Project Manager from the Cornwall College Group, said:

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be in, or to contemplate joining, the construction industry. With the emergence of rapidly developing green technologies and processes, there are massive opportunities for both school leavers and existing workers in all construction trades, to learn and implement low and zero carbon technologies. With this funding we will be able to provide our communities with outstanding facilities to showcase these technologies, introduce pre-16s to the industry, support job seekers into work in the industry, and upskill current industry experts to build with and install these new technologies. This will be key to achieving our net zero goals going forward.”

Charli Styles, Programme Team Leader of Future Skills at Truro and Penwith College, commented: 

“The College is thrilled to support delivery of this investment from the Good Growth Programme. The funds will allow the College to continue its long-standing investment in multi-million-pound, state-of-the-art facilities while providing additional outreach work and careers activities that encourage young people and adults to discover the significant career opportunities offered by the rapidly evolving construction sector as it responds to net zero demands.

“The funding significantly boosts our work to deliver future-focused skills training, perfectly aligning with our continued investment in industry-expert teaching teams and partnerships with Cornwall’s top employers, providing our learners access to future careers that improve life chances and support the future of a key sector in the Cornish economy.”

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme has been allocated £132m to spend on local investment through the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund. All funding decisions are taken locally by an Economic Prosperity Board which is made up of elected members from Cornwall Council and the Council of the isles of Scilly. Cornwall Council has been chosen by Government as the lead authority for the fund which is being invested in accordance with the Good Growth SPF Investment Plan.

Find out more about the Shared Prosperity Fund and the projects being supported in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly