CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association) Host the ‘Training and Education Zone’ at PLANTWORX and introduce the ‘Stars of the Future’

At PLANTWORX 2013 (14th – 16th May, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire) the CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association) is responsible for organising a new initiative – The Training and Education Zone – which is a dedicated zone aimed at raising the awareness of the skills shortage across the construction equipment sector and promoting the colleges across the UK which offer various construction plant courses. The CPA will also be hosting the presentation at PLANTWORX to the winners of the ‘Stars of the Future’ plant mechanic apprenticeship competition, in conjunction with 16 colleges nationwide.
The Training and Education Zone was an idea borne out of a lack of apprentices within the construction sector and aims to encourage new blood into the industry, educate companies as to what courses are available across the UK, what grants are available to help fund the employment of apprentices, and enlist the support of the construction industry’s movers and shakers.
“The colleges we have approached have all been very positive about the Training and Education Zone,” said Haydn Steele, Safety and Training Manager at the CPA. “Every college offering plant maintenance courses has committed to exhibit and support the zone and also our ‘Stars of the Future’ scheme”.
Verbal commitment has already come from a number of the top colleges in the country – these include Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, The National Construction College in Bircham Newton, Norfolk, Lackham College, Wiltshire, Bridgwater College, Somerset and Llysfasi College, North Wales. The Construction Skills Award Alliance (CAA) has also booked and confirmed its stand in the Zone alongside the Finning CAT Training Academy, which is a purpose built apprenticeship training facility based at Finning’s UK headquarters in Cannock, Staffordshire and Myerscough College in Preston.
Many construction companies are under the impression that the only college offering construction courses and qualifications is the National Construction College at Bircham Newton – but there are in fact more than 15 Colleges nationwide offering courses and qualifications in not just plant maintenance but management courses too, including the Hire Desk Operative Apprenticeship Scheme, which Colleges will be offering as standard to the industry. “If apprentices were able to ‘commute’ to their college, rather than move hundreds of miles away in order to attend a course it would encourage more apprentices into our industry and indeed companies to take on these trainees.” said Steele. “At PLANTWORX we aim to get as many companies and training bodies involved in the Education and Training Zone – to spread the word and get today’s youth interested in construction equipment and the industry. Also to find placements within plant hire and construction companies to safe guard the future our industry and its many sectors.”
Rob Oliver, CEO of the CEA (Construction Equipment Association) organisers of PLANTWORX said, “It is a sad paradox that we have so many people unemployed, yet a shortage of the right match of skills to the jobs that need to be done. From a manufacturer’s point of view our members have had challenges in attracting good engineering personnel into their companies – and right through the supply chain it’s important we up-skill to improve efficiency and output. That is why we are pleased to be partnering with the Construction Plant-hire Association on this PLANTWORX education and training project. On a broader scale we all need to be joining together to promote a progressive construction and manufacturing base to help our economy get out of the doldrums”.
The Stars of the Future competition is an annual award scheme devised by the CPA to recognise talented youngsters on plant mechanic apprentice schemes in colleges across the UK . There are separate prizes for Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices and colleges will monitor their construction students and identify their two ‘Stars of the Future’ apprentices – in total there will be 32 regional winners across the country. These winners will then be further assessed to identify the one National Winner at each level. The first prize giving is scheduled to take place in a glittering ceremony on Thursday 16th May 2013 at PLANTWORX – guests will include parents and families of the winners, college officials and a VIP guest is planned to present the awards. In the future the CPA plans to extend this award scheme to other training and apprenticeship routes.
In the winners, the judges are not only looking for the brightest sparks in the pack, with academic excellence, but those also showing the most potential, with a range of skills and attributes that would benefit from the boost a prestigious award would bring. “These youths are our industry’s future and should be recognised as such.” said Steele “With the support from the CPA and other supporting companies we can give these apprentices a head start and the confidence to rise to new challenges and tackle the ever changing technologies involved in our industry”.
The prize for each winning apprentice will be a £500.00 voucher from Snap-on for a mechanics toolkit. A commemorative certificate will also be given. The apprentices will then be assessed and one from each level will win the national final – the prize for this has yet to be confirmed!
The Training and Education Zone promises to be one of the many highlights of PLANTWORX 2013 providing the support and forward thinking that the construction industry needs to ‘keep ahead of the game’. It is common knowledge that we have an ageing workforce – this zone could provide a significant contribution to the solution of the Skills Shortage and safeguard the future of plant mechanics as a trade.
If you are interested in getting involved in the ‘Stars of the Future’ award scheme or perhaps want to offer sponsorship call Haydn Steele or Kevin Minton at the CPA on 020 7796 3366

Source: CEA/ Plantworx News Room