Tag Archives: Skills

Apprenticeships in Bristol

Councillor Asher Craig, smiling, with bushes behind her.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, and Equalities and Labour Councillor for St George West

This week, we celebrate the important contributions our many apprentices make here in Bristol. National Apprenticeship Week is in its 16th year, championing apprenticeships across the UK and what they mean for individuals, businesses, and also the wider economy.

This year focuses on how apprenticeships in Bristol offer Skills for Life and how learning on-the-job is a great way to get into your preferred industry or career. You can build your skills and gain invaluable experience all while earning money to help you live. These skills can be taken with you wherever your career leads you in the future.

In the last 12 months, we have seen 131 apprenticeships starting at Bristol City Council including with OnSite, our training scheme for the construction industry. Of those, 37 per cent were aged 16 to 24; 20 per cent were from a black, Asian, and minority ethnic background; and 16 per cent were from the Disabled community. We want Bristol to be a fair and inclusive place for everyone to work and continuing to create more equal opportunities for local people to start work, upskill, or change careers is an important part of this.

Sophie McKenzie-Brook, smiling.

An example of someone already on their chosen career path is Sophie McKenzie-Brook, who is a level six apprentice social worker. Sophie is studying for her degree at the same time as building experience in social work with both adults and children. Whilst it can be demanding balancing work and study, she feels more confident and really recommends starting an apprenticeship as an alternative to more traditional education routes.

Tyler Mogg, smiling.

Tyler Mogg is a level three civil engineering apprentice with us. He wanted to work close to home and get paid while completing his qualification. He is studying at Bristol College as well as working in a team within the council. Through his apprenticeship, Tyler is learning new skills (such as CAD design) as well as gaining first-hand experience and he even hopes to continue working with the team after he completes his course in three years’ time.

Yolanda Munyira, smiling.

Yolanda Munyira was already a member of the Youth Council when she decided to enrol on an apprenticeship course. She chose level three business administration as her apprenticeship and currently works closely with building control and the legal department. It is a great way to enter the world of work and Yolanda is enjoying working with her colleagues. Plus, she gets to be involved in many different areas of the council, such as the Hope Virtual School, working with the disclosure team and on Full Council meetings.

As an apprentice, you are fully employed which means you will be paid a wage and will receive a holiday allowance and other staff benefits just like other employees, such as sick leave and a pension. As a Living Wage employer, we believe in rewarding our apprentices fairly for a hard day’s work. The Living Wage Foundation rate is £9.90 per hour if you are over 18, and £7.60 per hour for those under 18 years.

We have also recently introduced a new initiative called Building Bristol. It’s great for the local construction industry as it tackles educational and economic inequality by working with developers, contractors, and employers to plug local employment and skills support services into all major city developments. Any local developers keen to be involved, or who need help completing an employment and skills plan, can get in touch by emailing buildingbristol@bristol.gov.uk

Being an apprentice can be so rewarding as well as making such a big contribution to the local workforce. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Sophie, Tyler, and Yolanda with an apprenticeship, find out more on our Education, Skills and Learning website or go to the Bristol City Council website. There are so many different types to choose from and you will be fully supported in whichever direction you choose to go.

Building Bristol – our vision for growing construction skills and employment

Councillor Asher Craig and Tom Renhard, smile in a group of Building Bristol employees.
Today’s blog is from Councillors Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Children’s Services, Education and Equalities and Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes – seen on the far left and centre of the picture

Bristol’s construction industry is booming, cranes are on the horizon. We are responding to the growing needs of our city, enabling new developments, offering much needed accommodation, health facilities, hospitality sites, education facilities, and workspaces. Our planning department reviews and approves over 100 major applications a year.

Without a doubt, we need the homes, schools, hotels, entertainment, and health facilities. But it is not just the finished product that matters. What our city also needs is skills development, training, and employment opportunities and we recognise that local developments and their associated construction projects can offer these opportunities. That is why we are now requiring that all major planning applications include an Employment and Skills Plan (ESP) for the construction phase and, where appropriate, the end use phase. While this might seem like an unnecessary extra step, there is huge value in these requirements. And contractors and developers are not on their own to meet the obligations. We have launched Building Bristol, a support service for the industry to guide developers and contractors every step of the way, helping put together and evaluate the ESPs.

Why the change, some might ask. We recognise that there are many opportunities presented by construction developments in our city during the build and the end user phase. These opportunities can greatly improve local employment, training and skills offers and, therefore, it is important that all of those involved in shaping our city play their part in maximising such employment opportunities for local people. Through Building Bristol, we can also connect applicants and developers with a wide range of services to help meet the agreed targets. All this means that there are huge benefits for our city’s workforce.

A Building Bristol employee smiles with a window behind him. His hat has the Building Bristol logo.

And vitally, we want to make sure the changed requirements are of benefit to the construction trade too. We have recently appointed John Boughton, Regional Managing Director for Wales and the South West of Bouygues UK, as the Chair of Building Bristol Board. John’s expertise, as the lead of the board’s key partners which include business, education, training, employment support, voluntary sector, trade unions and construction support, will help us make sure that we are further helping the construction industry.

So what does it mean in practice? Our Building Bristol Coordinator is on hand to support contractors, developers and end employers with developing their Employment and Skills Plans and delivering their agreed targets. By working with all major developments, there are also opportunities for shared events and campaigns to boost local recruitment.

In our city, construction is a career choice for plenty of young people already. We run our own On Site construction apprenticeship scheme which supports innovative apprenticeship and work-based learning programmes. We are proud to say over the last 25 years the programme has been running, it has delivered 2,500 apprenticeships. In Bristol, there is also our new £9 million state-of-the-art City of Bristol College Advanced Construction Skills Centre for students aspiring to a career in construction, which we helped secure the funding for. But we would like to go further. Building Bristol aspires to change the perception of careers in construction, to open up more opportunities for young people, women and those with barriers to employment, and to help close the skills shortage within the construction industry. We hope the scheme will complement the work we are already doing and further aid us in making construction a more attractive and attainable career for people in Bristol.

Two Building Bristol employees wearing High visibility jackets look out the window. The Building Bristol logo sits on their backs.

Our commitment to support the construction industry is continuous.  Previously, we had signed a Unite Construction Charter committing to working with Unite in order to achieve the highest standards in respect of direct employment status, health & safety, standards of work, apprenticeship training and the implementation of appropriate nationally agreed terms and conditions of employment.

The launch of Building Bristol isn’t the first time we have strived for local people to experience the wider benefit from new construction developments. For example, Goram Homes in partnership with Bristol City Council, will be launching a Skills Academy for its One Lockleaze development in the early part of next year, an innovative training programme designed to create opportunities for local people to gain work experience and vocational qualifications.

This is just the start of the process, and we’ll be sharing stories of partners and their experience with Building Bristol.  For now, more information about the service is available here: Building Bristol