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Case Study - O'Halloran & O'Brien Training Academy

Innovative ‘live’ site construction training academy to deliver 500 new entrants in 2022

O’Halloran & O’Brien Ltd, a leading building and civil engineering contractor, are continuing to lead the way in construction training and skills delivery from their facility in Gravesend, Kent.

With a progressive approach to training and skills development, the organisation has created an industry leading facility delivering multi-faceted training. By combining classroom learning, state of the art plant simulator technology and a recreating a ‘live’ construction site environment, the training model provides a truly unique experience.

The innovation doesn’t stop there. OHOB have a core ideology running though the business that recognises the value of quality training and skills development as a driver for business enhancement. This philosophy has now seen the Academy being referred to as a Construction Cluster and more commonly a Construction Sector Based Work Academy which resonates with Government thinking.

By combining multi-layered learning with practical ‘on the job’ site experience, the company are able to offer easy access for individuals that may want to consider a career in construction, without knowing exactly what they want to do. The facility and ‘construction site’ allows the training team of OHOB the opportunity to provide new entrants to the sector an in-depth combination of lessons and many different practical learning modules.

OHOB Workforce Development Director, Martyn Price MBE, commented: “the philosophy and ambition underpinning this approach was to create the greatest amount of interest in construction related occupations as possible and facilitate training opportunities across the breadth of our operational footprint to harness the wider potential of those candidates and enable them to have multiple different entry points into our business”.

Price continued “we want to encourage new entrants and job seekers to consider a career in the construction sector. By offering quality, introductory, pre-employment and work ready programmes along with industry accredited training and health & safety elements, we are confident we can achieve our goal."

“We are already a Kickstart employer and we have used the scheme to create opportunities for a wide range of candidates from difference social and economic backgrounds. Some of these Kickstart learners have come through pre-employment programmes. We hope in time some of this demographic will go on to secure permanent employment and/or an apprenticeship with ourselves. We are seeking to commence a Plant Operator Apprenticeship Standard in the new year for two cohorts of twelve with the first cohort starting in February 2022. We are actively seeking to be inclusive in our outreach and are taking a sector first approach. We seek to support social mobility, diversity and access to the industry for those who may have otherwise been economically challenged and in need of wider support in order to advance their careers.

Through this undertaking, we hope that we can access sufficient numbers of talented individuals to meet our business needs, but we are also providing quality training and collaborating with other businesses to allow individuals to seek other entry point opportunities or to complete their training and go on to work for other industry employers. In all forms, delivery of training is being undertaken in close collaboration with leading provider NOCN. The introductory wider courses in groundwork, formwork and steel fixing are currently being assessed by NOCN, with a view to receiving their ‘Site Right’ accreditation, adding to the existing NOCN SiteRight accreditations which include Working At Height and Harness Awareness, Safe Use of Cut Off Saws including Abrasive Wheels, Cable Avoidance, Vehicle Marshaller, Loadmaster and Health & Safety Awareness in Construction. These will help create a robust and meaningful learning pathway with recognised qualifications available as part of the training outcomes."

Price concluded his comments by stating “the uptake locally has been strong, we expected to deliver training to over 500 beneficiaries in 2022 in partnership with our training partner The Skills Centre and with the organisation fully committed to a successful outcome it is expected this number can grow year on year”.

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