BAM has become the first construction company in the South West to achieve the status of National Skills Academy for Construction for a programme-based approach to skills and training. The decision will trigger a huge programme of work opportunities in the South West of England for the next three years.

Until now, National Skills Academy for Construction status –conferred by CITB- ConstructionSkills, the sector skills council and industry training board - has only been granted for specific projects in the area. BAM Construction Western Ltd has achieved National Skills Academy for Construction status for a programme of projects across the region.

It is estimated that this will create over 100 ten-day work experience placements for 16-19 year-olds, 200-plus curriculum support activities including hour-long classroom lessons, 44 apprenticeships and 75 jobs advertised through local employment agencies, among a range of other employment benefits.

Schemes in the region that will be included include three in Plymouth (Marine Academy, All Saints Academy, and Plymouth University Technology College), two in Bristol (Winterbourne International Academy and Bristol Free School), two in Somerset (Taunton Academy and Bridgwater College Performing Arts Centre) and one in South Wales (Morriston Hospital). Over £150 million of projects will be involved with the skills academy. The projects announced today form around £100 million of that. More will be announced later.

Chris Jones, Director of Training and Development for BAM, said, ‘This is fantastic news for young people in the South West. It underlines BAM’s commitments both to the region and to developing the skills of the communities we work in. I’m very proud that we are the first to get this status and we’re already looking into whether we can repeat this achievement elsewhere in the UK.’

Roger Stone, Sector Strategy Manager for CITB-ConstructionSkills in the South West, said, ‘This is a very exciting development not only for BAM but for the South West, with the potential to create a great many job and training opportunities and generate income for the local economy. BAM’s submission lays out some very ambitious plans which we hope will encourage new blood into the industry, and we wish the company every success and look forward to seeing the difference that this will make to the South West construction industry.’

Lorna Lewis, BAM’s Education and Community Coordinator who put together BAM’s submission for the National Skills Academy for Construction status said, ‘I’m thrilled we’ve got the green light to do this. For the last two years I’ve been working with our supply chain and the young people in Somerset on two new schools in Bridgwater and I’ve seen how we can help them develop their potential and raise their career aspirations. The programme we have put together will benefit local children and young people interested in a construction career, people out of work, and people already on our sites who need more training and assistance with their studies. It is such a productive and responsible thing for a company like ours to be doing. I know first-hand that it makes a genuine difference to people’s ability to find work, keep it and perform it well.’

Each project will have its own employment and skills plan and the overall plan will last throughout the three years of the skills academy status.

Sub-contractors will also be significant beneficiaries of the skills academy status. Over 50 NVQs will be started, another 50 completed, 50 more will have training plans and 50 more will have supervisor training. Around a hundred will have leadership and management training and advanced health and safety training.

Steve Tapson, Director of BAM Western, said,

‘I’ve spent my career in construction and I know that behaving responsibly in this sector goes a long way to looking after people’s lives and wellbeing. I’m conscious that we need to look outwards and extend best practice into our supply chain too. In this way BAM can contribute to helping the whole economic and social outlook of the West Country and South Wales. Our people live and work here so for us this is a wonderful thing to do.’