Construction & Civil Engineering Task Group minutes: 1 November 2023

Meeting details

Wednesday 1st November 2023 at 09:30-11:30
Location: ESCG/OHM Energy Green Skills Training Hub 3A Hampden Retail Park, Eastbourne BN23 6QU and MS Teams



Organisation, Role



Adam Bennett

Wealden District Council, Procurement Team


Caroline Bragg

ESCC, Employability & Skills Strategy Manager


Elaine Remon

East Sussex College, Employability Operations Manager 


Ellen Cuever

East Sussex College Group, Project Manager


Gill Ramsay

East Sussex College Group, Business Development Team


Ian Whittle

RESTART, Partnership Manager South Coast


Jennie Cole

East Sussex Careers Hub, Enterprise Co-ordinator


Marc Pope

CITB, East Sussex Engagement Advisor


Paul Vine

OHM Energy Director, Sussex Decarbonisation Training Hub


Sara Taylor

Eastbourne & Lewes Councils, Regeneration


Michael Courts

ESCC Public Health, East Sussex Housing Partnership Lead


Dermot Clarke

DWP, Employer Adviser


Geraldine Turton

University of Brighton, Apprenticeships Manager


Michelle Chandler

Willmott Dixon, Senior Social Value Manager


George Chapman (via Teams)

Rother District Council, Employment & Skills Lead


Michele Chandler (via Teams)

Willmott Dixon, Senior Social Value Manager


Michele Augousti

(via Teams)

Institute of Directors Sussex, Chair



Laura Collier

ESCC, Senior Business Administrator



Scott Monk

GM Monk Managing Director, Task Group CHAIR


Hannah Brookshaw

ESCC, Projects and Partnership Manager


Paul Jennings

Morgan Sindall, Social Value Manager


Donna Harfield

East Sussex College, Vice Principle – Business Development


Jane Jeffrey

Southern Housing, Employment Support Manager


Steve Sefton

University of Brighton, Business Development Adviser


Dr David Oloke

University of Brighton, Head of Technical Education and Apprenticeships

Actions arising from this meeting
Action Lead Due by
1.    Letter from SM for employers to be shared with networks/supply chain ALL End Nov
2.    ALL to promote the T-Levels to networks/supply chain. ALL March

1. Welcome (new members)

Welcome, introductions and apologies. CB to chair this meeting in SM absence.

2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

Updates from working groups are on today’s agenda.

The draft letter from SM to employers about joining the task group should be ready to send by the end of this week. ALL to send to their networks and supply chain.
ACTION: Letter from SM for employers to be shared with networks/supply chain.

Previous action to follow up list of Morgan Sindall sub-contractors, CB confirmed that 3 sub-contractors had been added to the group but not yet attended and therefore will be sent SM’s letter as part of above action. MCh will also share letter with Willmott Dixon sub-contractors.

3. Working Groups update

a) Retrofit strategy & partnership
MCo provided an update and presentation (attached with the minutes). £500k initial investment has been confirmed. 2 new roles are being advertised - a partnerships and programme manager, and a data lead. £140k additional funding is allocated to support skills and workforce development; this group can decide how best to use this money. The East Sussex energy mapping specification is going to tender soon. A bid to DESNZ has been submitted by the Employability and Skills team to support workforce development in the retrofit sector, awaiting outcome. A partnership event is scheduled for early 2024. Meetings will be set up in Nov/Dec for the Retrofit skill sub-group; additional volunteers are welcome to join this working group – contact PV confirmed commitment to join the group. ST would like to refer a colleague from EBC/LDC.

b) Tutor recruitment & retention
HB is leading this group and will be sending out a date in November. In the meantime she has been reviewing a recent CITB report, provided by MP, on tutor shortages, which will provide a basis to take forward.

c) Recruitment & changing perceptions of the sector
MP updated on the agreed purpose of the group, to influence and support the existing range of events to improve recruitment and uptake of pathways in to the sector. Key areas that the group plan to influence include:
• Promotion of the East Sussex Apprenticeships Graduation ceremony on 16th November, with a push for construction apprentices to attend. There will be a spotlight Q&A panel session on stage with 3 or 4 construction apprentices speaking about their experiences.
• Promoting the Apprenticeship Roadshows events in June/July 2024, ensuring a good presence of construction employers with apprenticeship vacancies.
• Promoting construction at the Big Futures Show on 23 April 2024, which CITB is sponsoring. MC is in discussions to create a construction taster corner which features opportunities beyond the trades, e.g. plant simulator, 3-d modelling and surveying equipment. Once agreed, further information will be sent out to ask construction employer to join.
• Utilising National Apprenticeships Weeks in February 2024 to promote routes into apprenticeships, including a promotional document highlighting support for recruitment pathways for employers.
• An event for women in construction was also being discussed, but to be included within all activity/events above.

MA noted that the Southeast Construction Expo is on 1 May 2024 in Surrey. If anyone would like a stand, please contact Michele at

PV commented that the Big Futures Show construction corner great idea and showed joined up thinking and ability to promote opportunities across the sector.

4. Construction T Level placements

EC provided an update from ESCG which is in the third year of T-Level delivery. The T-Level in Construction is in Design, Surveying and Planning. Each student is required to do a minimum of 315 hours working with employers. This is a challenge for some businesses as well as students to fit around taught hours, with 1-2 set days per week where students can be with employers. Students can choose to work with employers during school holidays to build up hours. Employers do not have to pay students but can choose to cover expenses.

There is an Employer Support Fund available until March 2024 where up to £25k can be claimed for legitimate fees, such as paying for a member of staff to do admin, for equipment, CSCS cards and training.

T-Levels enable businesses to meet future workforce and many employ the young people they have placed, who then progress within the business. EC asked for ways to get employers on board. JC suggested asking employers and students with successful experiences to get involved in selling it to other employers. ST noted that there are ex-T-Level students who have stayed on with local employers – 1 with Sunningdale, 2 with Wilmott Dixon – who could be involved in promotion.

MC noted that CITB has launched an Into Work grant: £500 for CITB registered employers taking on a placement, including T-Levels; and a further £1,000 if they go on to employ that person. CITB Talentview Construction website enables employers to advertise for vacancies, but also colleges and individuals to advertise themselves to employers. EC to follow up with MC to include in promotional material.

EC confirmed that T-Level work placements for September starters usually begin after Christmas to allow students to develop skills, health & safety checks, etc. The college are also looking for placements for those in their second year.
ACTION: ALL to promote the T-Levels to networks/supply chain.

5. Careers Hub update

JC gave a presentation on behalf of the Careers Hub (attached with the minutes).
Industry Champions provide employer encounters e.g. careers events, Open Doors visits, work experience, taking part in the task group. If the employer participates in min. 3 activities over one academic year, they receive an Industry Champion digital badge and certificate. Cornerstone Employers provide strategic support for Careers Hub projects. Enterprise Advisers (EAs) are individuals that support a school at strategic level on improving their careers programme. The aim is to match every school/ college with an EA; currently vacancies for EAs with Special Schools. Noted that as employers are generally nervous about SEND, it was suggested that some training or a leaflet could be provided to help overcome perceived barriers. Contact

Open Doors provides opportunities for students to visit workplaces in small groups (4-15 students) and hear from employers about the range of jobs and career pathways in their industry. Last year there were 66 Open Doors visits provided for 819 pupils. Feedback from employers and students was positive. Employers who would like to get involved this year should contact

Last year had the largest cohort of students undertaking workplace experience – 4,122 students from 33 East Sussex schools; 2,065 employers. For information about offering placements this year, contact The number of construction placements there were last year to be sought.

The Careers Hub is funded this academic year to pilot ‘Start Small Dream Big’ with 37 East Sussex primary schools to raise aspirations and challenge stereotypes. Further information for employers to follow soon. Female speakers within the construction networks are particularly encouraged to get involved.

Following the Teacher Encounters event for Construction and Engineering in July, funding for a similar Health & Social Care event & potential Digital/Creative event this year. JC is running a pilot with Seaford Head promoting individual Teacher Encounters; well-received and to be promoted through headteacher forums.

The Careers Hub is working with schools/colleges on ways to engage parents with opportunities for young people. Training modules have been developed for careers leads. There is a parent-specific iCan event at King’s Church, Eastbourne, on 28 November. More employers are needed to attend, interested businesses can contact the Careers Hub:
It was acknowledged that the Careers Hub team does a great job.

6. Feedback from 19th October Skills East Sussex (SES) Board

CB fedback from the last SES Board meeting, reiterating that the activities undertaken by the Sector-based task groups are fed back at each SES meeting.

TRANSFORM presented their final evaluation and options for next year.

The main item of discussion was the withdrawal of BTEC qualifications from the FE curriculum. This was originally devised to simplify the Level 3 vocational landscape, and to be replaced with T-levels. There is a lot of concern that this will not be suitable for all learners and will leave gaps in provision, impact on NEETs & progression into industry. The action will be to map data on numbers of young people that this will impact and lobby.

The South-East Institute of Technology provided a presentation on the capital development being undertaken at ESCG Ore Valley campus. The site will provide Level 4 & 5 qualifications and higher apprenticeships through a collaboration with FE and HE; with specialisms in logistics, engineering, construction, health and life sciences. Ask that they present to the task group in future once up and running.

The DWP provided their quarterly update and noted again, second quarter in a row, that East Sussex data is bucking the trend with reductions on Universal Credit Claimants in all districts, when compared to neighbouring and regional areas. Given factors such as coastal deprivation, Alex Green credited the work of collaboration between educators, employers and stakeholders through SES and task groups for this.

7. AOB/Date of Next Meeting

ER updated on MULTIPLY programme – funding for employers to release staff for 6 hours/day. In response to employers requesting help understanding payslips, ESCG is hosting ‘understanding payslips’ sessions in Eastbourne, Hastings and Lewes. Further information to be sent with the minutes.

The Green Skills training Hub running BPEC Heat Pump Installer course 4-8th Dec, for those with prerequisite qualifications. Further info to be sent with minutes.

PV reported that CPD sessions can be run at the Green Skills Hub, anyone interested should contact

ST reported that Brighton & Hove Council are looking for an employer/ sub-contractor to take on a fully funded TRAC bricklayer apprentice within the Brighton & Hove catchment area. Group members to speak to their contacts.

Next meeting – Date TBC.