PlanBEE Scoops Skills Initiative of the Year

The prestigious awards celebrate the best in UK construction with outstanding entries from over 1,200 businesses.

Initiated and led by Ryder Architecture, the pioneering PlanBEE (Built Environment Education) launched in September 2016 in partnership with Gateshead College.  To develop professionals with a new and broader set of skills, the programme is now a collaboration with some of the most recognised companies in the industry and niche SMEs to shape the talent of the future and inspire people to consider a rewarding career in construction.  Founding partners Arup, Brims, Cundall, FaulknerBrowns, Ryder, Sir Robert McAlpine, Tolent, Xsite and 3e Consulting are now joined by over 14 other businesses.

PlanBEE partners have a long track record of recruiting and training apprentices and graduates and have worked with Gateshead College to develop a bespoke development programme of on the job training combined with academic study.  This provides a salary, a route to graduation, professional accreditation and offers a guaranteed job upon successful completion.

Mark Thompson, managing partner at Ryder said, “More collaboration and inter disciplinary working in the construction industry is essential, people with a broader set of skills and a different education.  PlanBEE is helping students forge careers in a variety of roles which will change and evolve as their careers progress.

“We’re extremely grateful to Gateshead College, all the consortium businesses and students who have helped launch the Newcastle city region campaign so successfully and we’re proud the model is now in the early stages of being rolled out nationally.”

Jordi Morris, from the 2016 student cohort accepted the trophy at the glittering awards ceremony and is one of 30 students benefitting from the initiative.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said,  “PlanBEE is an outstanding example of collaboration between industry and further education in response to a skills need and is providing the sector with a pipeline of work ready talent that enables companies to be more productive and competitive now and in the long term as well as exciting career opportunities for young people.

“This has changed the way in which the construction industry approaches preparing the next generation of built environment experts and we are delighted to be part of it.”

Students are employed by a special purpose education company and rotate around the disciplines of architecture, building and engineering, with four month placements in the sponsoring partner companies.

Throughout the four year programme, students develop broad knowledge of design and construction.  Study is in three stages, with a recognised qualification achieved in each stage – HNC, HND and degree.  There are five themes of study with each stage ending in an integrated team based project – leadership, economics, design, technology and production.

Academic learning is by a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, design studios, residentials, field work and site visits.  Assessment is a combination of examinations, coursework, projects and presentations.

The pace of learning is intense, and students are expected to excel in their development to progress to the next stage.  Entry level is five GCSEs (level 2) and three A Levels (or equivalent level 3) study.

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