Mind the skills gap: Sitech supports Plantforce with launch of new construction training


It is well documented that the construction industry faces the continual challenge of a skills’ shortage, with an ageing workforce and shrinking talent pool.  

According to the Federation of Master Builders, 22 per cent of the current construction workforce is over 50 and 15 per cent are in their 60s.  At the same time, the industry is also losing younger workers to competing sectors where work is perceived as more stable or appealing and pay is more competitive.

This is why SITECH, the UK’s premier Trimble construction technology provider is supporting Plantforce, leading supplier of plant hire machinery, to deliver new technology-focused, training courses designed to tackle the skills’ issue head on.

The new site-ready operator training packages will serve a dual purpose. First, helping to upskill existing construction workers to operate machines on a digitally enabled, high performing construction site thereby retaining valuable skills within the industry and second; training the next generation of employees on modern machine control in order to attract much needed talent into the sector.

The new courses are the first of their kind in the UK and will be delivered at Weston College’s Construction Training Centre in Weston-Super-Mare, with a view to expanding the training to other colleges across the country as demand increases. 

Alongside Plantforce’s significant investment in technology for use by students, the courses will provide access to the latest Trimble technology, with SITECH offering expertise on how to utilise machines to their full capability. 

Steve Breen, General Manager at SITECH said,

“It’s encouraging to note that 60 per cent of employers in the construction sector already have some kind of skills’ development system in place, with 71 per cent of businesses recognising that technology plays a role in attracting talent.[1]  

“At SITECH, we want to take this further and believe the key to developing talent is to ensure that employees are equipped with the latest digital skillsets that are so sought after across the industry. These skillsets are now a key requirement for many Tier one contractors delivering services to some of the country’s major infrastructure projects, where machine control and ‘dig to design’ technologies are now an expectation – helping to drive health and safety standards and improve productivity and profitability.”

Dale Hawkins, Marketing Manager from Plantforce added:

“Ensuring operators are ‘site-ready’ and have the necessary skills and competencies for Tier one projects requires different skillsets than much of the standard training available on the market can deliver. Rather than taking a basic excavator course and earning a beginner’s licence, our exclusive five-day training package provides the operator with experience of the latest technology, a practical test and simulator profiling alongside a medical examination. This provide customers with peace of mind that their operators are fully conversant with the latest practices.”

Simon Werkshagen, Head of Commercial Construction Training and Logistics Centre at Weston College concluded: 

“Weston College is rated Ofsted Outstanding, plus offers a quality training environment; delivering group sessions through to individual upskilling.  This unique partnership with Plantforce and SITECH, enables us to offer simulated training after the basic course; bridging the gap that currently exists, by creating a virtual construction site and teaching people how to use the various pieces of technology that are required for higher level contracts.”.  

To watch how the training centre helps reduce the skills gap, follow the link https://bit.ly/36eneJV

The Centre also offers apprenticeships and other construction and logistic training programmes. To enquire about our training offer  or for more information please go to www.construction-training-centre.co.uk, email enquiries@construction-training-centre.co.uk or call 01275 465555.

[1]Construction:  The case for digital enablement (Construction News & Microsoft, 2018)