Employers - this is your opportunity to shape construction education in Wales

Employers have a chance to shape construction education in Wales following a review by Qualifications Wales of the qualifications available.


by Gareth Williams, Construction Industry Training Board Wales (CITB), Standards and Qualifications Policy Manager 

The qualifications are for 16-19-year-olds, and it is essential that they suit the needs of construction employers and learners across Wales. 

A range of partners including CITB are supporting the changes, which are being led by City & Guilds and Excellence Achievement and Learning (EAL). They were instigated after a review of construction learning in the sector undertaken by Qualifications Wales. 

Building the Future, the Qualifications Wales report on the qualifications system in Construction and the Built Environment, highlighted problems with the current system. 

It discovered unclear progression routes; that learners can miss out on skills they need to meet employers’ needs; and assessment is often not well managed, while quality assurance can be inconsistent and of poor quality. 

The new construction qualifications need to be adaptable, responsive to technology and reflect modern construction techniques. 

It is therefore essential that construction employers are at the heart of developing the new qualifications. You can make them modern and fit for purpose. 

City & Guilds are initially seeking industry input into the development of Bricklaying and Site Carpentry including content and assessment during the week commencing 11 May 2020. Other trades will be added over the coming weeks. 

They are looking for volunteers to take part in online panels for these two occupations.  Each panel session will take around one hour with some pre-meeting reading. Anyone who feels able to participate can register here. 

These planned qualifications are part of some very positive changes to construction education in Wales. 

In January, Wales’ Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams AM, launched Go Construct Educate at Willowtown Primary School in Ebbw Vale. 

Go Construct Educate is a series of modern construction learning projects fully aligned with the new Curriculum for Wales. 

These resources mean construction modules will be part of the Welsh curriculum for the first time. 

Launching the resources, the Minister said: “Using these within the classroom and as part of work experience will help schools to recognise and utilise the opportunities the construction sector can offer our learners.” 

It’s fair to say that Go Construct Educate is a milestone in Welsh education; a chance to start a pipeline of talent from the classroom to employers. 

The new qualifications will augment the introduction of Go Construct Educate in Welsh schools. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how essential construction skills are to the nation; we’ve all seen some terrific work by contractors who’ve built temporary hospitals at short notice to help the NHS in these extraordinary times. 

The qualifications at Level 2 and Level 3 will be available for first teaching from 1 September 2021. Level 1 qualifications are being explored by Qualifications Wales. 

Let’s work together to ensure school-leavers are work-ready, hungry to get started and equipped with the modern skills construction employers desire. 

You can find out more information on the new changes via the Skills for Wales website which was launched in March.