- 15 new places to train as building control surveyors open up – last year over 1,000 applied
- Recruitment scheme such a success a permanent academy is set up
- Even those already in construction say they’re determined to switch
Youngsters and career changers from all walks of life are expected to swamp a scheme offering the chance to join Britain’s legion of building inspectors.
Despite construction generally struggling to attract new recruits, more than 1,000 applied last year for a similar scheme with LABC – the technical advisory and skills body for public service building control that covers Wales and England. A similar deluge is expected this year for the new crop of 15 places.
“We keep being told that young people and others don’t want careers in construction, but that’s definitely not our experience,” said LABC chief executive Lorna Stimpson.
“We want to make building control a shining beacon in construction, showing others how we can work together to address skills shortages across the industry.”
When the scheme was launched last year, applicants came from all walks of life: Of the successful candidates, 20% were school leavers, 30% came from other careers (including the Armed Forces), and 50% from other construction backgrounds such as building trades. Most candidates were under 24 years old. About half were from ethnic backgrounds, and 29% were female.
The success of the initial Government-funded capacity-building programme run by LABC to support the implementation of the new Building Safety Act was what persuaded the board to fund a permanent academy.
Sense of purpose
Starting this month, it is looking to bring in at least 15 recruits for immediate jobs with local councils across England and Wales. One LABC-funded trainee will go into each LABC region in England, with another four going to Wales to support the Welsh Government’s building safety programme.
The latest crop of trainee building control surveyors will receive two-year fixed-term contracts from LABC, secondments into councils for on-the-job training and expert mentoring, fully funded vocational qualifications and study time, and eventual official validation to become Registered Building Inspectors.
Applications open this month and candidate assessment centres start on 11 and 12 October.
Lorna Stimpson added: “Candidates liked the fact that we provide training and work with a strong sense of purpose. Careers in public service building control are at the front line of safety, sustainability and social value.
£23,000 a year
“Our trainees will gain level 4 and 5 building control qualifications and will be well on their way towards gaining their degree, gaining opportunities for promotion and salary increases at work, and becoming fully qualified chartered surveyors or building engineers, making a real difference to the built environment and to everyone who lives and works in our buildings.
“Best of all, our academy candidates will qualify with no student debt and will have been paid a competitive salary from day one.”
Starting salaries for 18-year-old school and college leavers entering the Academy range from £19,500 to £23,500 a year, depending on location. More experienced career changers start on higher salaries, and all trainees are provided with PPE (personal protective equipment), IT equipment and software, and professional membership of the CIOB, CABE and RICS.