Engaging with employers

Quality vocational training is hugely effective in supporting young people with skills for employment. But the world of work continues to change, and it is vital that training courses keep pace with the needs of employers.

On 29 June 2022 we held an Employer Engagement workshop at our Centre for Excellence. The session aimed to facilitate discussions to further develop our training programme and advocacy work.

We were delighted that representatives from 14 different construction organisations took part. A number of good points were raised:

Skills gaps

Several contractors indicated the opportunity for our course content to be widened slightly to further improve trainee prospects. Suggestions included incorporating brick and stone paving into our Tiling course, and plastering into our Brick and Blocklaying course.

Contractors identified a labour skills gaps in a number of areas including plumbing, steel fixing and steel works, industrial flooring and concrete reinforcement. Several employers agreed that they would be willing to pay for training that would help fill their skills gaps.

Life skills

Contractors suggested that strengthening Life Skills training would help improve trainee confidence on work sites, particularly around communication and team work.

Construction sites can be large, complex and overwhelming. It was proposed that trainees are exposed to work sites earlier on in their training, to increase preparedness for their work placements.

Women in construction

Gender was a key area of discussion. Contractors highlighted that female trainees can often out perform their male counterparts, but that they have to work twice as hard to prove themselves.

Contractors said there is clear support for hiring female workers at senior management level. However there is often resistance on the ground from key operational staff. This is clearly a key area for further engagement with employers.

Striving for excellence

There is enormous scope to promote learning, sharing and collaboration between training providers, employers and regulatory bodies to improve vocational skills training. Openness to continual improvement is essential as we strive for excellence.

“We were delighted to be joined by so many contractors. There was commitment and enthusiasm from everyone to hold these sessions more frequently.

Working in partnership and collaboration is vital in making positive, widescale changes to help more young people into work.”

Clayton Kachamba, Build It Business Development Manager

BII Business Relationship Manager Clayton speaking at the contractor workshop at the Centre for Excellence

If you would like to find out more about our work with employers, please contact our Business Development Manager Clayton Kachamba on +260 211 267715.