Response 565176513

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Name
Robert Girvan

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Construction Industry Training Board (Scotland)

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Questions

1. Do you agree with the definition provided of STEM for the purposes of this Strategy?

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No
Do you agree with the definition provided of STEM for the purposes of this Strategy?
• Appropriate STEM provision is essential in laying the foundations for careers in the construction sector, allowing the next generation of Scottish construction workers to progress through apprenticeships and training. • Our Construction Skills Network report suggests that over the next five years, the occupations within construction which will require the highest level of recruitment will be those which involve technical and ICT knowledge. • Across all occupations within construction, basic STEM skills are required for employees to undertake measurements, information handling, basic calculations and problem solving. • With the introduction of Business Information Modelling, the growing use of off-site construction, and general advances in technology, there will also be a growing demand for technical roles within the industry

2. Do you think the aims of this Strategy and the four priority themes are the right ones to address the challenges identified?

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No
Do you think the aims of this Strategy and the four priority themes are the right ones to address the challenges identified?
• The two key aims are appropriate. • In terms of the four priority themes, it should be recognized that the key theme of ‘Excellence’ need to be the prime focus and that raising standards of STEM skills and knowledge should be the main benchmark of success.

3. Are these success criteria right?

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Yes
Ticked No
If not, tell us what criteria we should use instead.
In its current form, the strategy does not have any specific performance indicators to increase the uptake of STEM and employment in STEM related careers. While it is recognised that the effectiveness of individual interactions is difficult to measure over the long term, it would be useful for there to be a series of aspirational targets set out for the Scottish Government and its agencies to work towards.

4. Do you think the scope of the Strategy is right? Tell us if you think it should exclude something or include anything else. For example, should it include training and development that employers provide for their workforce?

Do you think the scope of the Strategy is right? Tell us if you think it should exclude something or include anything else. For example, should it include training and development that employers provide for their workforce?
There is a growing need for all construction occupations to improve their STEM knowledge base as new technologies are introduced for commercial use. The Skills Investment Plan for Construction identified the following challenges around skills demand; • Focus on traditional apprenticeship routes may not fully reflect the increasing diversity of roles beyond the traditional trades, meaning potential limitations to the entry and progression routes in the sector. • Micro and SME business base faces challenges in engaging with workforce development to enable innovation, competitiveness and sustainability. The workload of employers can make them difficult to reach and engage. • Technical skills development and upskilling in line with developing practices and technology may drive demand for higher levels of qualification and experience. • Across the industry there is a deficit in skills in information and communication technology (ICT), particularly in the case of sole traders/micro businesses that are yet to digitise their operations. According to the McKinsey Institute's European Industry Digitisation Index, construction is the second least digitised job sector in Europe, sitting just ahead of agriculture. • Upskilling challenge for current workforce, not just in use of new technologies but also basic IT skills. • Competition with other sectors for technical workers.

5. Give us your views on whether you think the actions already underway across the sectors on STEM fit well with the Strategy and will contribute positively to it.

Give us your views on whether you think the actions already underway across the sectors on STEM fit well with the Strategy and will contribute positively to it.
• The Strategy seems to link in well with the Developing the Young Workforce Strategy and the Skills Investment Plan for Construction. • In 2015/2016, the Construction and Related framework accounted for 19% of all Modern Apprentices (MA) starts in Scotland, making it the most popular destination for young people in the programme. • In 2015 CITB Scotland delivered 34,000 training opportunities. These ranged from mandatory Health & Safety training, through modern apprenticeships to upskilling of specialist, professional and technical qualifications at post graduate levels for director level. All of these levels were impacted by STEM. • We support the Scottish Government’s ambition to increase the annual number of MA starts in Scotland to 30,000 by 2020. It is expected that a significant number of these new places will be in STEM related courses and construction will have a major role to play in the delivery of these new targets. • Each of the Skills Investment Plans should seek to include measureable STEM objectives where appropriate. These should reflect national measurements set out by Government.

6. Tell us about activity currently ongoing – either included in this document or not – that you think could be adapted or stopped and why.

Tell us about activity currently ongoing – either included in this document or not – that you think could be adapted or stopped and why.
With a variety of organisations, employers, and education partners engaging with schools, there is a cluttered and often inconsistent landscape of schools engagement. CITB Scotland is currently working to draw together key organisations that promote construction as a career, to establish a programme of engagement that is more strategic and consistent for learners. We would recommend a similar approach within the strategy for STEM interactions.

7. Do you agree with the principles set out for implementation?

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Ticked Yes
No

8. What else should Government do to ensure a more coherent approach and maximise impact?

What else should Government do to ensure a more coherent approach and maximise impact?
Leadership • For meaningful change to take place there needs to be leadership built into the strategy to drive targets forward. • The pace of change in technology and the demands from business also means that there has to be a consistent and continual evaluation of STEM and how it matches up to the needs of industry. • A national STEM employer group, made up of employers from the key sectors identified by the Scottish Government in its Skills Investment Plans, could provide leadership and respond quickly to rapid changes in skills demands across all areas of the economy. • This group could work within the current DYW national board, feeding in key recommendations and ensuring there is connectivity between Government objectives, and on the ground activity. Aligning skills provision to local demand • Additional investment could be put into mapping out local level STEM related skills needs and how they align with the supply of training available to meet that demand. • CITB has successfully led on understanding industry skills demand through the Construction Skills Network (CSN) research. However the demand for skills has never been comprehensively mapped across to the skills delivered through the training provider network. • While this work is still being developed we have already identified the need for scaffolding training in North East Scotland. CITB is investing £500,000 to develop a training centre in the North East of Scotland in a joint project with Aset International Oil and Gas Training Academy. • The development of a similar model across all sectors in Scotland could help to refine what STEM engagement is required to support the needs to employers, and align resources to that need.

9. Overall, do you think this Strategy is clear and action focused? Do you think that the actions that we propose to take nationally will achieve the aims and intended outcomes?

Overall, do you think this Strategy is clear and action focused? Do you think that the actions that we propose to take nationally will achieve the aims and intended outcomes?
• There needs to be clear, meaningful accountabilities embedded within the strategy. The only way to have meaningful accountability is where there is a specified resource allocation from Government, and clear leadership to direct the implementation of the strategy. • A more robust assessment of the effectiveness of school engagements from both the public and private sector would ensure that they are relevant, consistent and ultimately appealing to students. This should be done in partnership with employers, schools and education providers.

10. Will this Strategy improve equity of outcomes? If not, tell us what else it should include, in particular for women and girls and other groups of people – disabled people, care leavers and minority ethnic communities.

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Will this Strategy improve equity of outcomes? If not, tell us what else it should include, in particular for women and girls and other groups of people – disabled people, care leavers and minority ethnic communities.
Robust measurements will be required to assess positive impacts.

11. What could schools, colleges, universities, community learning and development, the voluntary sector, science engagement providers and museums do to support the areas for action?

What could schools, colleges, universities, community learning and development, the voluntary sector, science engagement providers and museums do to support the areas for action?
More formal partnerships with schools and other establishments of learning where there are clearly identified aims and objectives with agreed areas of work and collaboration.

13. What more could science centres and festivals do to complement and enhance STEM formal education, to inspire scientists of the future, and to ensure their activities support those of the Scottish Government and its agencies?

What more could science centres and festivals do to complement and enhance STEM formal education, to inspire scientists of the future, and to ensure their activities support those of the Scottish Government and its agencies?
• Deeper collaboration with industry. • We have made investments in new technologies, working with Heriot Watt University to develop virtual reality tools to simulate working at heights. We are working with Skills Development Scotland to showcase this at the My World of Work Live exhibitions. • In conjunction with industry, we have launched www.goconstruct.org to make it easier for people to access information on how they can join construction and tackle some of the stereotypes and misperceptions about the sector including from a STEM perspective.

14. Should this Strategy identify more actions for particular sectors, for example in relation to workplace and work-based training and development? Please make suggestions on what these actions could be.

Should this Strategy identify more actions for particular sectors, for example in relation to workplace and work-based training and development? Please make suggestions on what these actions could be.
• The priority for industry is to have a high quality workforce in place to meet demand. • 90% of construction firms in Scotland have nine or fewer employees and often lack the resources and know-how to support the development of STEM for their employees. • While getting to these smaller employers is challenging, simple one off investments in training can boost productivity. • Lifelong learning is an integral part of an effective STEM strategy. To enable this to take place, there needs to be a range of opportunities to engage with STEM, and from a diverse range of providers. • CITB has established a Skills & Training fund, which grants up to £5000 for our levy payers with fewer than 50 employees, to provide skills and training to their workforce. Over 1000 construction workers have received training through the fund with a value of £2million. It is easy to access and allows small companies to make quick investments in workforce training. This year CITB are raising the fund to £10,000 for SMEs with 100 or fewer employees. • A similar fund offering access to grants with a STEM focus to SMEs would be a fast and effective way of supporting the current workforce.

15. Tell us what you think about this Improvement Framework. How can we best ensure uptake of this Framework in early years learning settings, schools and clusters?

Tell us what you think about this Improvement Framework. How can we best ensure uptake of this Framework in early years learning settings, schools and clusters?
• Numeracy is pivotal to the success of STEM. • However, pupils often report that mathematics does not reflect their life experiences, creating a barrier for further progression into a STEM related career. • Course work for school learners within the STEM context should therefore seek to relate what they are being taught to real life examples. • Perceptions of the construction industry in the classroom are focused on the traditional trades, which are still vital for the industry but do not reflect the greater range of opportunities within the sector. • Inconsistencies in contextualising STEM learning within construction careers will leave pupils who are interested in joining the industry less engaged with STEM subjects at school. • We have worked to create a suite of digital tools for both students and teachers via Go Construct to tackle some of the misperceptions around construction. A wider approach to this within the STEM strategy would be welcomed. • CITB Scotland will be supporting a project this year looking at contextualising the curriculum from a construction perspective to make it more relevant to the career pathways of leaners. A broader look at contextualisation, led by employer needs, would improve understanding amongst students. • It must also be recognised that in order for these opportunities to be accessed by learners, there needs to be an over-arching coherent strategy to provide clear entry and progression routes into and through STEM.

16. Tell us what you think of our proposal for developing a model of collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers. How should we now take this forward?

Tell us what you think of our proposal for developing a model of collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers. How should we now take this forward?
This aligns with the work around the Developing The Young Workforce Strategy - important to ensure consistency of approach.

17. Tell us what you think of our proposals for a Scottish STEM ambassador network. How should we now take that forward?

Tell us what you think of our proposals for a Scottish STEM ambassador network. How should we now take that forward?
• During 2015, our careers advisers visited 60 primary schools and 396 secondary schools. They also worked with wider audiences, most notably DWP, third sector organisations and colleges. • We are now moving this engagement towards our Construction Ambassadors programme, which operates alongside our apprenticeship officers and local advisors. Our ambassadors undertake active learning projects in the classroom with pupils focusing on STEM skills. • Linking this network to the STEM ambassador scheme would create a more strategic approach to schools engagement.

18. What other groups, organisations or people need to be involved in delivery of this strategy?

What other groups, organisations or people need to be involved in delivery of this strategy?
• CITB and DWP have a partnership agreement in place to help drive recruitment. This agreement includes sharing labour intelligence, directing people to the correct support for employment and skills and more collaborative working at the local level. Frontline staff involved with employment services should be supported to improve their understanding of STEM within career pathways. • Employability Funding needs to have sustainable routes into either longer term training, or a career, for those participating. • Investment should go towards ensuring that unemployed people wanting to work in construction are given the support, if required, to develop the basic entry level skills that employers are looking for, in particular around literacy and numeracy.

19. Tell us about what you are doing in your organisation, establishment or community that supports the aims and priorities of this Strategy.

Tell us about what you are doing in your organisation, establishment or community that supports the aims and priorities of this Strategy.
• CITB recognises the key role that work-based learning, and in particular work placements, have in promoting STEM. • As part of our Modern Apprenticeship programme we assess apprentices in a number of areas, including numeracy, and arrange appropriate support where required. • The Experience Construction Programme, which provides £200 grants to employers to take 16-18 year olds on for work placements. CITB teams work closely with employers and colleges to facilitate this scheme. • We recently completed a project with EQUATE Scotland that supported young women in work placements who were undertaking a pre-vocational construction related course. • CITB Scotland and the Scottish Qualification Authority have worked together to redevelop the National Progression Award in Construction and the accompanying support materials which have a specific focus on developing numeracy. • CITB Scotland has also recently supported a ‘Get into Home Building’ programme, in collaboration with the Prince’s Trust, Homes for Scotland, Edinburgh College and City of Glasgow College. Twenty five unemployed young people (16-25) undertook a six week course being introduced to a variety of home building disciplines. Eighteen of the group subsequently secured a job or an apprenticeship with a construction company. • CITB Scotland along with Skills Development Scotland and partners, has worked with local employers and schools in West Lothian and Inverness Colleges to develop the Foundation Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering. It is recognised as a formal route into a professional career by industry bodies. • Last year, in conjunction with Skills Development Scotland, the Civil Engineering sector and Inverness College UHI, CITB launched the Graduate Level Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering pilot. A second group will soon start and we are exploring expanding the course elsewhere in Scotland. • Civil Engineering is the first sector in the construction industry which has a full vocational career pathway, encompassing Foundation, MA and Graduate level programmes. • Our Construction Ambassador network is currently being refreshed and updated on additional tools and resources available to enhance their activities and increase engagement through Go Construct. • Our new funding model allows SME businesses to bid for grants to support innovation in the workplace. For example, £15,000 in funding was recently given to a roofing company to train five members of staff to fly drones to the Civil Aviation Authority standard. Small investments in training around new technologies can drastically reduce the risks to workers’ health and safety on site and increase productivity.

20. What could employers do to attract and retain more diverse STEM talent?

What could employers do to attract and retain more diverse STEM talent?
Widening the talent pool for construction is one of the four key themes that underpin the Skills Investment Plan. As outlined above, and within the strategy itself, closer collaboration between employers, and education providers, will be crucial to meet this objective.