Mark Thompson with Judith Doyle

After three years of searching for a training partner to deliver a solution to the construction industry skills gap, Mark Thompson’s ideas became reality thanks to Gateshead College. Deborah Johnson speaks to the managing partner of Ryder Architecture and Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive of the college, about why collaboration is the key to success.

Having assembled a consortium of employers willing to work together to help devise a solution to the skills gap in the construction sector, Mark Thompson thought the easy part would be finding an education provider to partner with.  However, after spending three years of intermittent activity with various potential partners, the ‘easy part’ no longer seemed so straightforward.

“I visited universities and professional institutes around the country looking for someone to partner with us but many I spoke to just didn’t get the bigger picture,” says Mark, managing partner of Ryder and a passionate advocate of the need to develop skills in the region and indeed the construction industry.

“You go to some of these places and they talk in terms of years to create new courses, but you can’t work with that timescale. This is a fast-changing industry and we wanted change to happen now; it needed to happen now.”

Read more: The North East Times