Literacy & Numeracy Training on the Victoria Station Upgrade – National Skills Academy for Construction Project
In 2012 the Victoria Station Upgrade Project (VSU) being delivered by the Taylor Woodrow/Bam Nuttall (TWBN) joint venture (JV) was stuggling with an increasing number of subcontractor workforce employees with English as their second langauge. To further complicate matters much of the workforce were keen to improve their grasp of English but were reluctant to embark on an ESOL qualification due to the out of hours time commitment that would be required.
The challenge for Jon Deas, CITB funded Project Skills Coordinator (PSC) driving the National Skills Academy for Construction at VSU, was to find a solution that fitted the needs of the site and improve the English language ability of the workforce.
The first step was to understand the level of interest from the workforce, to gauge this, the PSC placed posters around the site and in the welfare facilities to publicise the activity in a variety of languages, namely Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Somalian. The promotional campaign resulted in just over twenty operatives registering their interest.
The next step was for the PSC to research and find a training provider capable of delivering a suitable training course for the operatives in question. After careful consideration Learning & Skills Solutions were chosen to deliver both a literacy and numeracy course on-site during working hours to improve their ability in both of these areas, all of which was provided through a Government funded training initiative.
All candidates who expressed their interest were invited to a twenty minute skills assessment to assess their different needs and language requirements. Following this the workshops were then rolled out on Thursday afternoons over a period of 10 weeks to coincide with a regular site shut down in order to minimise disruption to project activity.
Of an initial cohort of twenty who expressed an interest in the course, eighteen completed the training resulting in qualifications from Entry Level 2 to full Level 2 awards. The training was considered a resounding success and demand has been so high amongst the workforce that a further session has been developed and was rolled out from February 2013.
Nerijius Bukantas, at the time a Ganger from Reliable Contractors, is a beneficiary of the pilot in 2012 and since completing the course was promoted to the position of Foreman in March 2013. As one of the main campaigners for developing further sessions in 2013 he stated, “This course was very helpful to improve my English understanding, it has helped me at work to communicate better but also in my everyday life. We have never had this on a job before so we are very grateful.”
Nero, as he is known on site, has improved from an Entry Level understanding of English to Level 1 which not only improves his communication but, more importantly, it also enhances the general level of health & safety on site for everyone, improve his future employability and, as Nero has stated, will have a lasting impact on his whole life.
Learning & Skills Solutions have the flexibility to be able to offer an ‘out-of-hours’ training provision for those unable to deliver such training to their workforce during working hours. For anyone wishing to develop a similar workforce development programme to VSU, Sue Bouckley, Director at Learning & Skills Solutions has Adult Literacy and Numeracy funding for learners or any age and with any English ability, she can be contacted on 01206 769099.
Article is from the National Skills Academy website
Page updated: 16 May 2014