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O’Halloran & O’Brien Academy

Best Practice Case Studies

O’Halloran & O’Brien Ltd (OHOB) is one of the UK’s leading groundworks and civil engineering contractors. Their Construction Training Academy trains young people, from the ground up and those already qualified who want to diversify, for careers in the construction industry.

O’Halloran & O’Brien Ltd (OHOB) is one of the UK’s leading groundworks and civil engineering contractors. Their Construction Training Academy trains young people, from the ground up and those already qualified who want to diversify, for careers in the construction industry.

Now OHOB has built a new, state of the art training facility, created to address skills shortages the need for upskilling in the construction sector.

The Skills Gap

OHOB’s vision is to address the skills gap by creating training opportunities to help build new construction industry careers. OHOB explains:

“The construction industry today faces many challenges. In recent years there has been an overreliance on Eastern European and migrant labour. This, coupled with the potential impact of Brexit and the covid pandemic, demonstrates the unsustainability of an overreliance on a migrant labour pool.

The situation is compounded by the construction industry’s slow response advocating and showcasing the sector to young people, especially career changers and those who hold a construction industry professional qualification but have found it difficult to land a job in their specialised field.”

Creating Opportunities

OHOB takes a multifaceted approach to achieving its goal, reaching out to young people in education to promote careers in construction via T Levels and technical education routes, and working with industry partners such as Women into Construction.

They also offer work experience programmes and apprenticeship pathways at trade, technical and professional levels, pre-employment programmes, and reskilling and upskilling those displaced from other sectors. OHOB continues:

“Given the realities of covid and Brexit and the impact they will have on construction, it makes good sense to attract young people into the sector, and to offer qualified professionals a pathway into employment with opportunity to diversify and learn new skills.

The future success of the construction industry is largely dependent on the ability to develop a talent pipeline, including more targeted engagement with under-represented and disadvantaged groups to promote improved social mobility and career progression for all.”

New Academy Training Centre

The OHOB Training Academy provides new entrants, young learners and potential apprentices a practical insight into construction and allows displaced workers from other sectors an opportunity to experience the sector and access different learning pathways.

The Academy is currently an OHOB branded facility located at Southwark Construction Skills Centre in London. But that’s about to change with the new Academy training facility.

OHOB’s new, purpose-built training centre in Kent enables the Academy to accommodate up to 50 learners. It includes a fully interactive Construction Plant Simulator to support up-skilling programmes and wider education and outreach activities.

The new training centre hosts construction work experience, contextualised ‘taster’ sessions and pre-employment workshops, together with ‘boot camps’ targeting the creation of sustainable employment opportunities.

Where new jobs are created and learners lack a full suite of qualifications and competencies they will have further up-skilling opportunities which will deliver additional construction qualifications, including NVQ, NPORS, CPCS, Site Safety Plus, SMSTS and SSSTS.

Looking Forward

OHOB is seeking to recruit, train and up-skill over 1,000 new entrants from across the South-East of England. With such an important role in the local Kent community the Academy is set to become a beacon for construction sector training and future apprenticeship programmes.

Future apprenticeship goals also include a Construction Site Supervisor Level 4 apprenticeship; up to three new Construction Quantity Surveying Technician Level 4 apprenticeships; and several new opportunities for Construction Surveying Technician Level 4 apprenticeships.

In addition, there will be several trade disciplines including two cohort groups on a new Construction Plant Operative Level 3 apprenticeship programme, and other new entrants on Groundworker and Formwork apprenticeships.

OHOB advocates ‘get Britain Building’, to invigorate the sector to provide trades and professional careers as solid foundations on which young people can build success.

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