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Knauf and Carillion give jobseekers a drywall opportunity

Knauf and Carillion give jobseekers a drywall opportunity

Looking beyond the current dip in housebuilding and general construction, a major contractor and a leading drywall manufacturer have teamed up to address future skills needs. A four week drywall taster programme, developed by Carillion plc and Knauf Drywall and supported by local government grants, gives jobseekers a chance to get on to the first rung of the building career ladder. Candidates learn the basic craft and safety skills they need to start work as drywall construction site operatives across the spectrum from housebuilding to high rise construction.

The programme was piloted recently at King’s Cross Construction Training Centre, London, where 15 unemployed people aged 18-50 and with no previous experience of drywall work were taught about the care and use of tools and materials for the job, and site safety. Working to detailed plans and measurements they went on to build drywall partitions using plasterboard on timber and metal studs. This work included window and archway details, and taping and jointing. The programme was developed in conjunction with Knauf Drywall’s Sittingbourne-based Training Centre team, and was designed for people over the age limit for apprenticeships to start from scratch in the building industry.

Leroy Joseph, a Carillion Area Manager for OSAT (on site assessment and training) in London, says the candidates were successfully assessed for Green Cards under the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, a prerequisite for employment with a contractor. “The idea is that they will initially get jobs as construction operatives, working alongside qualified installers, so that they can demonstrate and prove attendance, punctuality and attitude. With this, plus the skills and knowledge picked up on the job, each of them should in time become suitable candidates for a fast track NVQ Level 2 – and a CSCS Skilled Worker’s card.”

Carillion in partnership with King’s Cross Construction Training Centre normally provides NVQ Level 2 training in a variety of building trades, as well as managing fast track OSAT programmes for older workers. It is one of the group’s 17 centres nationwide training and upskilling workers for the building industry. Carillion is a major user of drywall skills, especially in its residential and commercial building projects.

James Leaning, Knauf Drywall Technical Services Manager, says in common with other sectors of construction, the drywall industry needs to recruit and train a significant number of individuals in the next three years to meet anticipated longer term skills needs. “Our programme with Carillion addresses part of this problem, and at the same time helps unemployed people back into the workforce. We hope that this programme will become a regular feature of Carillion’s calendar at all its training centres and that it will be a major source of new skills for the drywall sector.”

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