May Glindon MP at TyneMet's Construction Campus (TMC) in Benton, with FIS Skills and TMC BuildBack P

Member Article

New Construction Training Partnership Builds a Better Future

The launch of a brand new partnership between Tyne Metropolitan College and FIS Skills (the specialist skills delivery arm of Finishes & Interiors Sector Ltd) was supported by Mary Glindon MP at a recent open event at the College’s specialist construction campus, TMC, in Benton. The collaboration illustrates a joint commitment to plugging sizeable construction industry skills gaps.

According to the latest Construction Skills Network report[1], construction output is expected to grow by 1.7% over the next five years, with 179,000 jobs to be created.

Among the jobs most in demand are highly skilled drylining professionals. The brand new ‘BuildBack’ training programme – devised by FIS Skills and delivered locally at Tyne Metropolitan College’s specialist construction campus, TMC – offers real job opportunities for local individuals with employer partners primed and ready to provide work placements and exciting lifelong careers.

The BuildBack programme represents a welcome injection of new skills amidst concerns of post-Brexit trade conditions, a lack of new entrants to the industry and an ageing workforce profile across the construction sector. In a recent survey of FIS members (March 2017), 90% of respondents state that their operations are hindered by a lack of skilled trade operatives and almost half claim that they are facing increased labour demands.

By designing a clear route into the sector, the FIS Skills’ BuildBack programme focuses on careers and opportunities in a mission to attract 1,500 skilled new entrants every year by 2020. The delivery of an upskilling scheme that’s accessible for both trainees and employers, will close the skills gap and generate a sustainable pathway for new careers in the finishes and interiors sector.

The BuildBack programme offers job seekers who are serious about developing a career in drylining a two-week Specialist Upskilling Programme (SUP) in drylining course at Tyne Metropolitan College’s TMC Campus to develop the skills and competencies required for installing drylining. This is followed by a two-week work placement on-site with a local employer.

All trainees are offered at least one job interview and those who secure full-time employment with an employer will have their fees paid for to complete ongoing training to NVQ Level 2 in drylining. All trainees will also receive free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and have their CSCS card paid for.

The BuildBack programme also offers huge advantages to employers, allowing them to boost their workforce with highly skilled labour within six months. Candidates will be site-ready and able to add value to the business immediately, having benefited from two weeks’ basic training in dry lining. The cost and arrangement of recruitment, training and assessment for their full level 2 NVQ qualification will be funded by the BuildBack programme; this means a hassle-free experience for employer partners.

Helen Yeulet, Director, FIS Skills, said: “We have worked closely with partners including TMC, Job Centre Plus, the DWP and numerous employers to create this innovative pilot scheme. Since its launch in March 2017, we are now progressing our second cohort of trainees through their two week training programme and subsequent work placements.

“Bringing expertise together in a joined up way has led to an influx of interest from candidates to our oversubscribed training programmes. We’re fully committed to helping these enthusiastic individuals to fulfil their potential and get them into jobs and earning money as quickly as possible.”

Alyn Carr, Deputy Head of Construction, TMC, said: “TyneMet realises that partnerships are key to the development of relevant training programmes to provide a timely and appropriate response to employers’ needs.” Alyn continued: “To be recognised by FIS Skills as a trusted, expert dry lining training provider marks our determination, passion and forward thinking business ethos to equip our locality with the latest skills and qualifications.”

Mary Glindon MP, Labour Party Member of Parliament for North Tyneside, praised the partnership and was enthused by the live training at the event: “It’s great to see this purpose-built facility in our constituency and to witness motivated individuals training and re-training to hone their specialist skills and boost the local economy.” She continued: “Gaining a much needed skill to secure employment for the rest of their working lives is clearly the motivation for these local people. With the constant concern of skills gaps, it is a delight to see our local college, TyneMet, in this successful partnership with FIS Skills and to hear about the end product of a potential job for the individuals involved.”

The third and final cohort in this pilot training programme will start in May 2015 – local employers can register their interest in the BuildBack programme by emailing:

Further information:

FIS represents specialists in all aspects of the interior fit-out and finishes sector, comprising of members from across the sector supply chain. FIS works on behalf of the sector to develop skills, drive technical competence and support the community. FIS offers its members advice, training, technical support and dialogue with government and other stakeholders.

TMC is Tyne Metropolitan College’s specialist campus for careers in construction. Situated in the heart of an industrial trade centre in Benton, North Tyneside, with excellent trade specific facilities. TMC’s specialist drylining and plastering facility, opened in 2015 in partnership with British Gypsum, delivers qualifications focused around employer needs and facilitates the growing demand for up-to-date industry relevant qualifications for drylining, plastering and interior fitted systems.

[1] 2017-2021 Construction Skills Network Report, published in Feb 2017:

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tori Clayton .

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