New PCP Diploma in construction UK e1536758162360

Diploma takes construction tech into colleges

The UK’s first Level 3 Applied Diploma in Professional Construction Practice (PCP) will teach young people about BIM, the use of drones, laser scanning technology, and AI and VR in the built environment.

This new academic course is aimed at high-achieving students, who would normally focus on core STEM subjects, and has the dual purpose of transforming outdated perceptions of the industry and better preparing young people for progression into Level 4 built environment qualifications and careers.

The PCP qualification is worth the equivalent of an A-Level and provides a contemporary insight into construction practices, encompassing the technologies, behaviours and innovation that support the delivery of buildings.

Teaching modules include an introduction to Building Information Modelling (BIM), the use of drones, laser scanning technology, and AI and VR in the built environment, providing young people with a realistic insight into a world of work beyond the construction site itself, revealing the wide-ranging roles and functions that work collaboratively to positively transform our environment.

The technological focus of the course is a deliberate response to broaden the appeal of construction to engage both female and ethnically diverse audiences, who make up just 14% and 6% respectively of the current workforce.

Following the publication of the government’s Construction Sector Deal in July, the importance of ‘people’ as one of the five foundations of productivity was a central theme of how the industry can transform itself for the future. The report acknowledged the stark recruitment and skills gap the industry is facing, with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) estimating that the sector needs to recruit and train 158,000 workers between 2018 and 2022, or 31,600 annually – simply to keep up with current levels of demand, which are also rising year on year.

Neath Port Talbot College (NPTC) Group of Colleges is the PCP diploma’s first partner and sponsor, and over the course of the 2018 academic year will be working closely with ISG construction services in preparation to deliver the qualification to its first cohort of students in the September 2019 intake. ISG has committed to placing real construction professionals in the classroom to help deliver the course, and is working to upskill tutors and bring real life projects to learners – using the very latest technologies to see beyond the traditional site visit experience.

Paul Cossell, ISG’s CEO, commented: “The skills and expertise of the UK’s built environment professionals have never been in higher demand around the world. The problem we have as an industry is that a third of our workforce is now over 50 years old and we are not doing enough to educate and expose young people to the amazing opportunities that exist in this vitally important industry that delivers the infrastructure, hospitals, schools and homes that support our very existence.

“The PCP qualification is our response to engaging the brightest and most talented young people at an earlier age, with a Level 3 qualification that can sit alongside and complement existing STEM subjects. Students are given the confidence to explore contemporary construction practice and earn transferable UCAS points, which is an essential element as this unlocks the barriers that some may feel towards specialisation at an early age. This is the real game-changer – a qualification that accurately reflects our industry, but doesn’t negatively penalise those who are interested but ultimately find that it is not for them in the long term.”

Rosalind Thorpe, the Charted Institute of Building’s head of education, added: “This qualification will help attract much needed new talent into the industry, which is currently experiencing skills gaps. The CIOB believes that attracting school leavers into construction will be key to increasing the use of digital technologies and innovations in the industry and improving productivity.”

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