Leading training body Construction Skills People (CSP) has announced that it has secured millions in European Union funding to help construction contractors in Derbyshire boost qualifications among staff – helping to tackle growing concerns about the skills shortage across the industry.

The funding is set to support employers across the UK and will provide access to training that will allow site based operatives to ensure they have the necessary skills to work safely and efficiently on construction sites.

Workers successfully completing the training will achieve a Level 2 NVQ qualification, as well as qualify for a Blue Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) or a Blue Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card – a card which must be obtained before personnel are allowed to access more than 85% of construction sites in the UK.

To be eligible for the funding, companies must employ less than 250 staff, and be within the Derbyshire region.

According to figures from the Construction Industry Training Board, construction output in the East Midlands is forecast to stagnate from 2017 to 2021, well behind the 1.7% predicted for national output growth*.

Director Stuart Anderson said: “There is growing concern about the skills shortage that exists across the construction industry, with many workers simply not qualified to work on projects, which is having a huge impact on the projects that contractors – especially smaller contractors – can pitch for.

“This funding has been released by the EU in a bid to tackle that issue, whilst also providing operatives with the opportunity to increase their skills and ensure they are well-equipped to work on a building site from a health and safety perspective.

“The qualifications they will walk away with after they have completed the training will also mean that they are more efficient and more environmentally aware, which is of course good news for employers and anyone else working on the site.”

He continued: “The construction industry plays a pivotal role in the UK economy, but the reality is that many existing workers are nearing retirement, and we need to act quickly now to ensure that those young people who are starting out are given the training they need to ensure they can plug any gaps before it’s too late.

“There is no knowing whether there will be any further money available for such training given the situation with Brexit, so I would urge employers to take advantage of this raft of funding whilst they can.”