Partnership strengthened to support construction sector

Fife College and Fife Council Economic Development are launching a major new initiative that develops opportunities for small and medium sized construction businesses as they recover, sustain and seek ways of working more efficiently, following the major challenges of COVID-19 and exiting the EU.

'Construction Fife – Skills Innovation’ will strengthen Fife College and Fife Council Economic Development’s existing collaboration, by introducing key partners including Business Gateway Fife, CiTB, SMAS (Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service) and Digital Construction Skills. By building knowledge, providing targeted support and developing skills, efficiencies and future success can be achieved by the sector.

This collaboration aims to enable Fife’s construction sector to take advantage of opportunities that will come about through Scotland’s transition to net zero – particularly around retrofitting new and emerging technologies.

The construction sector includes a wide range of disciplines from design, building construction, heavy engineering to trades - the skills are varied. Research conducted by the partnership identified a need for greater regional collaboration and more digital advancement opportunities.

This programme is the start of a deeper relationship with the construction sector in Fife. It brings like-minded construction companies together in the spirit of knowledge exchange, to ensure the future skills of the sector are designed together, enabling the future aspirations of the construction sector to be met, including the immediate Construction Scotland Recovery Plan.

Construction businesses will be able to engage with the programme via online training, get hands on experience of technology, work with experts to create bespoke solutions to problems and get one-to-one support through Business Gateway Fife’s Expert Help programme. This will create a construction network to generate two-way development of the sector going forward.

Councillor Altany Craik, Convener - Economy, Tourism, Strategic Planning & Transportation at Fife Council, said:  “The construction industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, as well as exiting the EU, so this partnership combines business development and growth support with skills development, to provide a holistic range of support for businesses at every stage of a business’ journey. We see this as a vital way to support the construction sector to recover and grow through the coming years.”

Dennis Savage, Academic Head, Built Environment, Engineering and Technology at Fife College, commented: “This programme is the start of a deeper relationship with the construction sector and our hope is to bring like-minded construction firms together to create a two-way sharing of knowledge and the future skills of the sector are designed together enabling the future aspirations of the construction sector to be met.”

In addition to these sessions, and others that are in the planning stage, construction businesses can also benefit from support from Fife Council’s Economic Development Team and Business Gateway Fife. Advice on planning for innovation, creating the right business environment to develop ideas, as well as signposting businesses to key partners to assist with workforces, is available. Leadership development, product to market development, as well as access to finance are also ways of boosting business performance and successes, all of which is available via Fife Council  and Business Gateway Fife.

Fife College has a strong relationship with many construction businesses through its existing training programmes including foundation and modern apprenticeships, full time training courses and industry specific courses. With many construction businesses embracing advanced construction techniques, Fife College is opening more opportunities to learn about these new and innovative solutions that support businesses to move into new ways of working.

For more information about ‘Construction Fife – Skills Innovation’, or to register for upcoming  events, visit: www.digitalconstructionskills.com/events or email: fifemeansbusiness@fife.gov.uk