Mitie originally opened the first of seven Construction Skills Centres in 2001. The project was hailed at the time as a revolutionary new way to tackle the vocational skills shortage facing the UK and helping to bridge the gap between education and employment.
Across the Centres, young people aged primarily between 14 and 16 are taught a range of construction skills, and obtain nationally recognised vocational qualifications. The Mitie Foundation now continues to work hard and build on the company’s legacy by managing the on-going maintenance and support for the Centres, whilst also developing other ways of bridging the gap between education and employment for students throughout the UK.
Once schools open to ‘vocational learning’ were identified, Mitie then converted available classrooms into dedicated construction skills centres and provided all the supplies, tools, equipment and personal protective equipment necessary. Teaching across the Centres is provided by dedicated tutors, employed by the school. The students are able to obtain a BTEC Certificate in Construction for one year of study or a BTEC Diploma in Construction for two years successful study. In addition to obtaining a vocational qualification, the students develop a healthy work ethos and learn entrepreneurial skills.
The subjects covered include plumbing and electrical skills, bricklaying, painting and decorating, and carpentry and joinery. Some of the Centres even provide DIY classes for the local community out of school hours.
The seven Skills Centres are based in community focused schools in the following locations: Wigan, Bristol, Sunderland, Ipswich, Hackney, Airdrie and Birmingham.
Mitie’s Investment to date
Each year over 300 students gain valuable practical experience and obtain formal vocational qualifications across the seven Centres. Additionally, hundreds of other students from collaborating schools also use these Centres on an occasional basis including students with special learning needs.
To date, more than 2,000 school children have benefited from the Centres leading many to apprenticeships and future employment.
So far, Mitie estimates that it has invested more than £750,000 in money and time setting up, maintaining and engaging with the Centres. It is an investment where everyone benefits: from the young individuals whose skill set and employment prospects are improved, and the schools whose attendance and pass rates have increased, to the schools’ communities that now have access to new facilities out of school hours.