Construction & Civil Engineering Task Group minutes: 16 May 2023

Meeting details

Meeting Held on: Tuesday 16th May 2023, 09:30-11:00
Online only



Organisation, Role



Scott Monk

GM Monk Managing Director, Task Group CHAIR


Adam Bennett

Wealden District Council, Procurement Team


Caroline Bragg

ESCC, Employability & Skills Strategy Manager


Celine McGeown

CITB, Customer Engagement Manager


Councillor Jim Murray

Eastbourne Council Councillor, Construction Skills Assessor


Dr David Oloke

University of Brighton, Head of Technical Education and Apprenticeships


Elaine Remon

East Sussex College Group, Employability Operations Manager 


Gill Ramsay

East Sussex College Group, Business Development Team


Ian Pickard

IPD Training


Ian Whittle

RESTART, Partnership Manager South Coast


Jennie Cole

East Sussex Careers Hub, Enterprise Co-ordinator


Jermaine Olafa

CXK, Regional Manager, Skills & Employability


Marc Pope

CITB, East Sussex Engagement Advisor


Melanie Butcher

SCTP, Transform Adviser and LSIP Stakeholder Engagement Lead for Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing


Noel Painting

University of Brighton Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, Technology and Engineering


Paul Vine

OHM Energy Director, Sussex Decarbonisation Training Hub


Paula Sanders

Chaffin Works, HR Manager


Sara Taylor

Eastbourne & Lewes Councils, Regeneration


Sarra Hawes

Hawes Construction, Director



Donnalyn Morris

ESCC, Employability & Skills Project Officer



Michelle Chandler

Willmott Dixon, Senior Social Value Manager


Paul Jennings

Morgan Sindall, Social Value Manager


Susan Harrison

Austin Cradles Scaffolding


Steve Hayman

Cheesmur, Director

Actions arising from this meeting
Confirm venue for 2nd Aug meeting DM 02-Jun-2023
Contact WG with names for workshops, demonstrations and talks for Teacher Encounters/ Industry Insights event WG/ALL 05-Jun-2023
Contact about a stand at the Apprenticeships Roadshows in June and July 2023 MBu/ALL 2-Jun-2023

1. Welcome (new members)

SM welcomed all present. JO who has joined the team at CXK in the last year introduced himself to the group. His remit is skills and employability for the region.
CB advised that a Partnerships and Programmes Manager has been recruited to, filling the role covered by Stephen Burkes’ former Employability and Skills Project Manager post. The new member of the Skills East Sussex team joins late July.
The sector task group wants to see a wider range of regular and new employer attendees. Forthcoming events will play a part in this by raising awareness.

2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

SM will fix a meeting date with AB following this meeting regarding procurement and social value. CB offered support regarding the county council’s approach to social value.
DWP colleagues are now sending job fair information more regularly through to the SkillsEastSussex inbox. This is then shared with all sector Task Groups. People may need to check spam/bulk email folders for these.
Teachers’ Encounters event on 5 July and Apprenticeships Roadshows are on the agenda.
SM added that this meeting was online as no suitable room was available at County Hall this day, and no offers to host had been received. County Hall is booked for the meeting on 2 August, but it would be good to hold it somewhere more closely linked to the sector. As a meeting was held at the decarbonisation centre within the last year, we may wish to look elsewhere but it will be available on that date. CllrMu suggested Eastbourne Town Hall as well.
ACTION 1: Follow up with potential venues and agree alternative with SM and CB – DM

3. Transform – celebration, impact and legacy

MBu presented on behalf of VPo who was unable to attend today. She opened by informing everyone that £3.3billion of apprenticeship levy (the sum paid by employers with annual PAYE of £3m or more that is paid to support smaller businesses with recruitment and training) goes unspent annually. Unspent funds are returned to the Treasury.
Two key aims of the Transform programme are to create legacy toolkits – one for levy payers and one for SMEs. These are to help distribute unspent levy and to help access and make use of levy monies.
The majority of apprenticeships have been in Construction in East Sussex: 30%. These have been in CAD (Computer Aided Design), Quantity Surveying as well as the ‘trades’ of electrical, brickwork, painting & decorating and plumbing. The majority have also been new recruits in the sector, those in Health & Social Care have been primarily upskilling existing staff. The programme has delivered some supported apprenticeships, too.
35% of levy transfer to SMEs has gone to Construction firms. This equates to over £200k.
SM congratulated the success of the programme and the bid that was made to get it into the area. He observed that SMEs vary greatly. Some, like his own, regularly take apprenticeships. He had found with the support of the college and training providers, recruiting an apprentice to be a ‘good experience’. Support over the initial hurdles helps enormously.
SM continued that employers need to recognise that to get the most out of an apprentice and the apprenticeship, the employer needs to put something in. They need to expose the worker to interesting and inspiring opportunities. If not, this is not engaging for those concerned and leads to dissatisfaction on all sides. Apprenticeship numbers and suitably qualified workers needs to double to tackle labour shortages and prepare for the skilled workers needed in the future.
SM said that having the confidence to take on an apprentice can be the main barrier. MBu agreed and added that business support is also Transform’s aim. Self-employed people do not even have PAYE set up and need to be guided through that in order to consider taking an apprentice. They may also need support with digital, administration, accounting and other core skills.
MP advised that the CITB have expanded their support team for new entrants. The person covering East Sussex will meet with SCTP on mutual and complementary working. Electrical and plumbing are outside the scope of activity for CITB. A review of the scope is underway.
PV said that core skills of team leading and management are needed for workers to gain skills to progress and lead beyond their subject expertise. MBu advised that management and leadership apprenticeships are available, and people can move into these.
DO advised that with LLE (Lifelong Learning Entitlement loans) coming on board in a few years’ time, it would be good if support for HTQs (Higher Technical Qualifications) form part of the legacy. Others agreed.
CB stated that it is increasingly a Procurement Social Value request that county council contractors who are not present in East Sussex (for example, a telephony provider) transfer levy monies to East Sussex SMEs. This means they can support East Sussex apprenticeships even if unable to do so physically.
The Apprenticeship Roadshows take place on the afternoon/evening of:
• 21 June at the White Rock Theatre, Hastings
• 12 July at the Welcome Building, Eastbourne
Transform funding is supporting these events to be put on. Legacy will also look at how to continue the roadshows in the future.

4. Teacher Encounters update

WG advised that this event, which is on the back of a successful bid to the Careers and Enterprise Company will be branded ‘Industry Insights’.
FE Sussex, the consortium of colleges and universities have been commissioned to deliver and co-ordinate the event as they have direct and regular contact to school and college principals. The decarbonisation centre (Sussex Training Hub) and ESCG Hampden Park main campus have been chosen as easily accessible; somewhere school and other college tutors may wish to visit, and will have the appropriate risk assessments for practical demonstrations.
People are already starting to sign up. The Careers Hub have informed schools of the 5 July event. Curriculum Heads will be contacted. Related subjects, such as Design & Technology teachers should attend as well as those in vocational subjects.
MBu said that a finding from the LSIP report is that employers would like more modern construction methods to be taught; tutors not having the knowledge means it is not happening. This event addresses that.
SM, SHA, NP and others expressed they have potential participants interested in taking part. This includes females who could talk specifically about women in the sector and/or be part of the mainstream demonstrations and careers talks so it is more ‘normalised’.
Further details will be discussed at the steering group meeting next Monday, 22 May. SM sits on this as does WG. The day includes Engineering and members of that Task Group including its employer chair are involved.
ACTION 2: Contact WG with names for workshops, demonstrations and talks – ALL

5. Feedback from working groups 1 and 2

MP fed back on Supporting Recruitment (this week, this month, this year) group which had met on 3 May.
MP reminded everyone that the CITB has recruitment and training incentives which members can access. The organisation wants eligible employers to take up support that is available to recruit the next generation of skilled industry workers.
MP advised that discussion had focussed on encouraging and developing recruitment from college leavers. This includes raising awareness of T levels. Getting students in for work experience who could then be considered for an apprenticeship or other employment with training. Promotion of positive case studies would help.
MBu advised that Transform has gone through T Levels with employers when conducting Organisational Needs Analyses and the Quantity Surveying one is very popular with employers. They are very keen to take students for work experience.
DM fed back on the Changing Perceptions (of the Sector) group which had also met on 3 May. There is, inevitably some cross-over with supporting recruitment and developing the curriculum.
Two points she wished to highlight are that if wanting to show the industry as more diverse and open to women, this needs to be reflected in presentation at events, in recruitment and online. The other is that the sector needs to show it is one with careers pathways and progression and about more than manual labour. If you are not visible or vocal, changing views is not possible.
DM showed a QR code that links to the Construction and the Built Environment Apprenticeships Occupational maps.
The ask is that more construction employers sign up to attend the apprenticeships roadshows and that they use QR codes to link to vacancies and the long-term opportunities that the sector has to offer. This will attract more motivated and interested candidates which the sector needs.
ACTION 3: Contact about a stand/sharing a stand at the apprenticeships roadshows in June and July 2023 – Employers
SM advised that the working groups will wrap up at the August meeting. There will then be a re-set for the following 12 months, in line with the academic year. The themes may continue but the angles will change. The hope and expectation is that the Curriculum Development Group will feedback on the 5 July event; Changing Perceptions will be able to report on feedback from 5 July regarding views of the sector as well as increased numbers and engagement at the apprenticeships roadshows, and Supporting Recruitment will have a SWAP (Sector Based Work Academy Programme) devised or supported more employers to take apprentices or T Level students.

6. AOB

JC called attention to She Builds UK. A father had set this up in repsonse to his young daughter saying she could not become a builder as ‘only men are builders’. They are running an exhibition throughout May and raising questions and creating materials to challenge stereotypes.
CB added that research shows that stereotypes based on gender form at age 6 or 7. Socio-economic background plays a part, its noticeable that the Steps to Success participants (learners with poor school attendance and in receipt of free school meals) have all followed ‘gender typical’ paths.
Primary Careers Hub which East Sussex piloted a few years ago is being rolled out. This means that there will be more careers engagement at a younger age so that gender stereotypes can be challenged before they set in.
CB reminded everyone that if they are attended the forthcoming Skills Summit on 25 May in Eastbourne, they need to make sure they register to secure their place. This immediately resulted in some registrations. The three main themes of the summit are future skills (AI and green skills), upskilling (including schemes to access free training) and reimaging recruitment. The event is also a great networking opportunity and to share ideas with other sectors.
MBu advised that the LSIP (Local Skills Improvement Plan) will have published its latest report by that time.
CllrMu asked members to get in touch about the Eco Home event on 8 July.

7. Next meeting

2 August 2023 with core meeting 9.30-11.00. Currently booked at County Hall, venue subject to change as discussed.