Colchester Institute launches new Construction Skills Centre at Clacton campus

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Colchester Institute’s Clacton campus has undergone a major revamp to provide even more opportunities for local people to develop rewarding careers in the construction industry.

The College has invested in two new large multi-purpose workshops that will extend the existing construction training facilities at Clacton Campus, and provide a range of benefits to support local businesses in developing their workforce capability. In an initiative supported by Essex County Council and sponsored by Phelan Construction, the Construction Skills Centre will deliver unique construction trade programmes specifically for adult learners in the Tendring District; providing direct support to local businesses including growing the talent pool of local skilled labour. The opening took place on Monday 11th March inside the Construction Skills Centre.


Opportunities to access well-paid careers in the construction sector have never been higher, with the skills shortage in certain trade sectors becoming apparent in recent years. Wages for jobs in the industry are expected to continue to grow, making it an attractive career option. Essex Employment and Skills Board estimates the need for at least 44,000 new construction recruits to support pipeline Essex projects by 2021.

Industry-standard equipment will allow students to acquire skills that they can easily apply to the workplace. Incorporating specialist facilities for brickwork, tiling, plastering, tiling, carpentry, kitchen fitting, plumbing and electrical installations, the Construction Skills Centre provides flexible ‘upskilling’ programmes, delivering both skills and mandatory safety qualifications, as well as the option of gaining a CSCS card.

The new Centre, based at Church Road has the capacity to train hundreds of adults and younger people who will no longer have to travel out of the district to learn these skills. Not only is this a benefit for those looking to start a career, but also for those already in employment due to the flexible modes of study.

The Centre enables students to access training around their current employment, with both day and evening training options available. Colchester Institute recognise that the time constraints of everyday life potentially limit the window of opportunity for adult learners to expand their knowledge or retrain in their desired trade, and the Construction Skills Centre makes it easier than ever to fit in a training course around other commitments.

The training facilities will enable school leavers to access full time courses as well as adult learners to study part time. Some adults will have no previous experience whilst others are in need of a refresher. Whether a learner is looking to enter a career in the trade or even to enhance DIY skills for home improvements, the Construction Skills Centre at Clacton can accommodate their needs.

Adam Ward, Director of STEM Innovation at Colchester Institute said: “The opportunity to change career and access high earning jobs within the construction sector is very real.  This centre provides training that focuses on the specific skills and behaviours employers are looking to fill current skills shortages.  For candidates with the right work ethic, this means quick routes to much needed employment within the construction industry.”

Matt Jolly, Pre- Construction Manager at Phelan Construction said:

“Phelan Construction is thrilled to be sponsoring the new Construction Skills Centre at Colchester Institute’s Clacton campus. The construction sector overall is in the midst of a serious nationwide skills shortage. This is causing increasing labour costs and limits to construction activity, and is predicted to only get worse. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has reported that the industry needs to find 157,000 new recruits by 2021 in order to keep up with demand. At Phelan Construction, we take this industry-wide problem very seriously and wanted to work with our local training provider and educator, Colchester Institute, to develop a tangible, practical solution that could help start tackling this problem in our local area. We’re looking forward to working closely with Colchester Institute to continue to grow and establish this fantastic training facility for many more years to come.”