Thursday, 25 March 2021

Building skills and removing barriers - Get Into Construction

Picture taken pre-Pandemic
We are really excited to be delivering a new 'Get into Construction' course.  We've considered developing construction courses in the past, but have always come up against barriers to deliver, so we have never achieved this goal.

This year however, everything seems to be falling into place!

The main barrier to people getting into construction is the CSCS card. To qualify for this card, you need to have a qualification in a specified subject area and undertake a separate Health & Safety test which is only available at selected approved centres. Once you have both these certificates you can apply for the basic CSCS card.

We have managed to identified a partner who can deliver the Level 1 Award in Health & Safety
within a Construction Environment, on our behalf.  We are working with the Department of Work and Pensions via contacts at the local Job Centres to access funding for learners to complete the Health & Safety test and offset the cost of the CSCS card.

With these elements now in place we started to look how we might recruit to the course. We know from previous experience that our Roma communities have always been keen to gain a CSCS card because they have the skills and work experience from the different countries, but they have been unable to access construction work because they don't have the required recognised qualifications in the UK. We used this as our starting point and produced a poster in Romanian to encourage registrations.

When we started promoting the course to the Roma community, we assumed that the majority of the learners interested in this course would be men - how wrong were we! We have been delighted by the interest shown by Roma women and 9 have already registered. Another great thing about this course is that because we are using a partner to deliver it, we can also provide a translator for this learner group so that we can ensure our learners are not disadvantaged by English being their second language.

One of the ladies who has registered, originally contacted us as she wanted to register her partner and had called to get support filling in the online registration form. Whilst we were talking to her she asked us “But a woman can not register?”.  We know that Roma families can be very traditional, but it seems perceptions are starting to change and we were delighted that we were asked this question. We told her, that of course we can have women on this course. We explained that women representatives are needed in this industry to help break stereotypes. We completed her registration onto the course and once we did she went and shared this information her friends in the Roma community and we now have 9 registrations from Roma woman for the “Get Into Construction” course. 

It is lovely to be raising awareness and promoting non-traditional gender roles and not having to be constrained by traditional occupational life concepts. To be empowering women and giving them new career opportunities in a workspace mostly reserved for men and we are delighted to be breaking the mould in this field and encouraging women to have a positive impact on their community.