Glasgow to showcase new methods to deliver construction training
A new European project aiming to modernise the delivery of off-site and modular construction education and training has been launched in Glasgow.
Used in different ways across Europe, off-site and modular methods of construction have proven to be cleaner, safer and more productive than traditional building methods. As they are also capable of providing affordable housing stock, there is now a need to move from traditional to modern methods of construction, and therefore training.
Funded by Erasmus Plus, Embracing Modular Innovation in Construction – Getting Education Modernised (EMIC-GEM) - is led by City of Glasgow College together with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and partners from Spain, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and the UK.
Linus Reichenbach, project manager for STEM & innovation at City of Glasgow College, explains the objectives and goals of the project: “The aim is to transform delivery of off-site and modular methods of construction advanced vocational education and training. Key processes will be digitalised while an emphasis will be placed on decarbonising activity, improving energy and resource efficiency, workplace safety and diversification of the workforce.”
The EU construction sector makes up nearly 9% of the whole EU GDP and provides 18 million direct jobs. However, the industry faces many major challenges including improving energy and resource efficiency, adopting digitalisation and innovative technologies, and developing specialised educational training to respond to labour skill gaps.
Rohan Bush, head of public partnerships & future workforce, highlights the way this project helps to address current industry challenges: “Moving to greater use of off-site construction is the only way the UK can meet its current housing challenges, but we need a workforce which has the skills and knowledge to do this. Working on a shared approach with education providers across Europe gives us the chance to transform the skills agenda at scale.”
By February 2022, the objectives of the EMIC-GEM project are to:
- Develop a ground-breaking training model and competency framework based on a preliminary review of the EU landscape in off-site and modular methods of construction
- Engage around 2,000 individual learners
- Provide open online educational resources (co-designed and co-delivered by partners) to support Advanced Vocational Education and Training (AVET) practitioners, including joint teacher and webinars, available in the languages of the represented partner nations
- Raise awareness of the adoption of off-site and modular methods of construction practices, particularly among SMEs and micro businesses.
Andy Pollock, associate dean for construction at City of Glasgow College, explained the importance of raising industry awareness: “This last objective is not secondary. Up to 95% of construction, architecture, and civil engineering firms are SMEs or micro-enterprises, so the need for a shift from traditional to modern methods of construction has never been greater.
“Investing in a transnational network of professionals offers the opportunity to accelerate a pan-European response to the education and skilling needs of the construction industry.”
The project will run until February 2022 with a budget of over €300,000. Work has already begun on the development of an innovative training model and competency framework that will share best practices in order to benchmark educator training. The aim is to have this completed by March 2020.