In July 2016 Esh Group, which has offices across the North of England and Central and Southern Scotland, began developing a CITB-funded Esh Carbon Coach Course for its apprentices.
The programme aims to help tackle the construction industry’s skills shortage and meet Government carbon reduction targets.
Available online and comprising four modules, the course gives apprentices the on-site know-how to shape a sustainable future for the construction industry while reducing costs.
It equips apprentices with everything from knowledge on energy saving on-site to low carbon design.
“CITB funding has been significant for us,” says Rita Callender, Esh Group Business Development Manager. “Without funding it would have taken us a few years to allocate the budget to establish online training for apprentices in sustainability. Funding has been hugely beneficial, it’s helped us spearhead and expedite the project, we’re very grateful to CITB.”
Rita says the funding application process was swift and smooth with the workshops CITB provide especially useful.
“Esh Group is a levy-payer, we’ve employed apprentices over many years, we were notified that CITB-funding was available and so applied. The workshops CITB provided were a helpful part of the application. I attended one in Edinburgh, it was a good opportunity to see what was required.”
Rita says applicants were shown the funding form and had the opportunity to ask questions about the process.
“I went to the workshop in March, funding was awarded to Esh Group in June, so it was a quick turnaround,” says Rita.
Funding will see at least 50 of Esh Group’s 108 apprentices, who are 11% of the workforce, trained in carbon reduction. The project’s total cost is £49,460 of which CITB has contributed £34,600 over 16 months via its Flexible Fund.
Funding was awarded because CITB were impressed by Esh Group’s ambitions for its workforce and commitment to sustainability. Esh Group intends to continually improve the programme with additional modules and improvements under consideration as Rita explains.
“One of the challenges for apprentices is they are doing an NVQ. The modules are supplementary learning so they need to find time to study the course. But they can do it at any time of the day, as access to the learning is 24/7.
“We’ve thought of ideas to improve the learning experience, such as introducing a voiceover while apprentices look at the screen. We’re also drafting an electronic workbook with further support material. We will also ask apprentices for feedback; it’s important that the course sits well with 16-21year-olds.”
At least 20 learners from 11 of Esh Group’s suppliers are also participating in the pilot to increase its reach in the Industry. After completion of the pilot the course will formally be introduced to the wider Construction Industry at a launch event with Constructing Excellence North East. This will be on the 18th May 2017 at the new Esh Academy in Bowburn, Durham.
Geeta Nathan, Head of Economic Analysis at CITB, said:
“CITB is proud to fund a project committed to providing apprentices with the skills and training that will benefit the industry and the environment. By targeting apprentices early on in their training, we can help inspire many to make carbon reduction an important part of their careers. From a commercial perspective this also makes sense as saving energy means reducing costs and making our business more sustainable.”
By targeting apprentices early on in their training, we can help inspire many to make carbon reduction an important part of their careers. From a commercial perspective this also makes sense as saving energy means reducing costs and making our business more sustainable.- Rita Callender Business Develpment Manager