A CONSTRUCTION Skills Centre has opened at Public Health England’s (PHE) £450 million campus site in Harlow.
PHE has been working at Harlow Pinnacles in the vacant GSK site which it purchased in 2017. The new skills centre will train hundreds of people in the construction industry, with 1,000 expected to study there in the first year.
The centre, on a 40 acres site, is a partnership between PHE, Harlow College, Jobcentre Plus, the Construction Industry Training Board and three main contractors, Volker Fitzpatrick, Kier and Waites.
Stuart Maskell is one of three people who has started the construction course. He heard about the course from the receptionist who works at the centre, as he already knew her.
The construction course is a three day course; he has only completed one day of the course and said that it “started at 9:30am and finished at 2pm.”
The course is free to anyone who is currently unemployed however if you are currently employed the course is just a small sum of £100.
Stuart said, “This course is one of the best I have done. I have done several other courses and I have been in and out of work throughout the years and I think that this course will bring me a lot. It has a nice environment.”
Stuart also said “There is a canteen here and you have access to tea and coffee throughout the day. I like how I can go on a quick break if I need to.”
Another person who is currently on the construction course, Andrew Parker said “I heard about this course through Facebook and I think that financially getting into the industry will help me a lot. It is a good way to get me out of the house and it helps even more that I can do the course for free.”
The partnerships wants to allow local residents opportunities by making the course open to a wide range of people. Stuart said “You do not need any past experience before you join the course.” The partners are also aiming to place more than 35 per cent of people on the course into employment.
Karen Spencer, principle and CEO at Harlow College said “This project is another example where the College is working in partnership with employers to ensure we are developing a skilled local workforce that meets the needs of the industry.”
Ms Spencer also said “This is an amazing opportunity for Harlow, what better place to be than on a construction site. This is going it make a difference to students.”
Martin John, the director of the PHE Science Hub Programme, said “We hope the centre is a clear signal of our strong desire to work with partners in the town and to be a vital member of the Harlow community.”