This post was first published by My London on 1/10/2019.
How Croydon College is helping the construction industry transform the borough’s skyline
The College is training students to work on major developments both on its doorstep and across the city
Croydon has always been a bustling place to live and there is always plenty of work available, especially if you have a trade behind you.
With so much building work going on the South London borough’s skyline is constantly changing. This means that skilled construction workers are needed now more than ever.
It can be difficult if you don’t have the skills or the experience, which is why it is such a big deal that Croydon College have signed up to be part of the Mayor’s Construction Academy (MCA).
The MCA has been set up to help more Londoners train in the skills they need to be employed on the capital’s housing construction sites. It works with skills providers, employers, developers and London Boroughs – helping them to access funding.
The MCA has been so impressed by the work Croydon College has been doing that it has recently awarded them the MCA Kite Mark for quality.
As one of the only colleges in the area to receive the prestigious award, Croydon College offers students an extra advantage in getting the skills they need for successful careers in the construction industry.
How will the award make a difference?
The Construction Award will not only be beneficial for the College but will also have an impact on Croydon itself. With so much construction work going on the demand for skilled construction workers is now bigger than ever.
Whether it’s students looking for their first job after gaining their qualifications or workers looking to add another string to their bow for that promotion, Croydon College caters for all.
The College now has the opportunity to apply for funding to be able to expand the department and offer more resources and opportunities for students looking for careers in the industry.
There are some incredible facilities and learning opportunities available for students which would be improved if funding is granted.
The South London College has various tools on site so that students won’t have to train on the job as they already know how everything works. With additional funding however Croydon can invest in more industry specific tools.
How does the College feel?
Peter Lang is the Head of School for Building, Engineering and Technical Professions. He believes that there will be many benefits to Croydon College because of the kite mark status.
He said: “Not only does the award allow us to provide the best training for our students it will allow job centres to send people to us to retrain and go out on site.
“Employers sometimes have training needs. This allows us to go onto the sites and meet some of the employers needs as well as training up the next generation to have the necessary skills.
“The quality mark identifies and recognises high quality construction training and skills training in London. Any college that’s got this mark is saying they have got good provisions and that the Mayor’s office sees them as exceptional.
“So now we’ve got this quality mark we can apply for funding to become a construction academy hub. There’s nothing like this in this part of the woods. We are the first and only place in the area to get that quality mark.”
How will Croydon businesses benefit?
Peter added: “Because we do apprenticeships here we work with local companies who have sent their apprentices here, but we also work with some of the sites over the road.
“These sites may not have any apprentices here but they might have a training need that we can go over there and deliver the training on site.
“It might be an employer might have an up-skilling need such as using angle grinders or other machines and we can provide training for that. If we get the funded it will allow us to work with more businesses and discuss how we can meet their needs as well.”
Have there been any success stories?
One of the MCA’s aims is to increase the available job opportunities for women and BAME Londoners. Gemma Austen, 28, was previously a decorator before enrolling on a combined construction qualification at Croydon College.
She managed to get her qualifications in just over six months instead of the standard two years. She hopes her story can inspire other women to join the construction industry.
Gemma said: “For me the courses were a massive development into progressing in my career and I could study here through my apprenticeship. Croydon College helped me massively to get me where I want to be.
“Because I have a background in trade the teachers helped me to cross reference the qualifications that I did in the past and combine it into my qualification now.
“For some units my teachers were able to link in what I had learned ten years ago so I could transfer my skills from my old jobs into my new career.”
How has the construction industry changed?
Careers in construction can often be seen as being male dominated, however that is no longer the case as Gemma knows just how inclusive the industry can be.
She said: “The industry has definitely evolved from how it was years ago. Some people on site might say ‘oh you’re female’ and I can just say ‘well yes’ .
“It’s widely accepted now because inclusivity is such a big thing and it’s becoming such a big thing across London.
“All the major construction companies now advertise women so it is being promoted now even more widely than it was. People just accept it. We should be treated the same as a male. We are only human.”
Gemma also knows just how important it is to get more people working in the construction industry.
She said: “The construction industry is absolutely booming at the moment and it’s a good industry to go into
“I remember my mum told me back in the 80s that construction was more or less down the pan but now it’s more at the top.
“A year ago teaching was one of the best jobs but now teaching has sort of gone down the list and construction has gone up. You can get paid really really well.
“Obviously you have to work hard and get those qualifications but I love working in the construction industry.”
How can I find out more?
If you think a job in the construction industry is for you then Croydon College offer plenty of courses to suit your needs.
Where: Croydon College, College Road, Croydon, CR9 1DX
Call: 020 8686 5700