Construction Task Group minutes: 11 November 2021

Meeting details

Date: Thursday 11 November 2021

Time: 9am to 11am

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.


Action points from last meeting

Action 1

  • Description: SB to arrange meeting for Morgan Sindall, Wilmott Dixon, GM Monk, Boutique Modern, Cheesmur, Hawes and GM Monk re SWAP
  • Lead: SB
  • Use by/status: Complete

Action 2

  • Description: MR to share T-Levels information
  • Lead: MR
  • Use by/status: Complete

Action 3

  • Description: MR to contact MC and SH to discuss potential placements
  • Lead: MR, SH
  • Use by/status: SH confirmed complete

Action 4

  • Description: IR to share T-Level details with procurement supply chain
  • Lead: IR, RP
  • Use by/status: RP not at meeting

Action 5

  • Description: SH to share T-Level details with Constructing Excellence in Sussex Committee
  • Lead: ShaH
  • Use by/status: Complete

Minutes from the last meeting were approved.

Action points from this meeting

Action 1

  • Description: CB asked for volunteers for a working group to develop the action plan – contact CB/SM
  • Lead: CB, SM
  • Use by/status: ASAP

Action 2

  • Description: Contact the Careers Hub re Spring Open Doors
  • Lead: MB
  • Use by/status: Before February

Action 3

  • Description: Contact the Careers Hub re becoming an enterprise adviser
  • Lead: MB
  • Use by/status: At any time

Action 4

  • Description: Contact the Careers Hub re using maths in employment
  • Lead: MB
  • Use by/status: Before February

Action 5

  • Description: SM requested update on the Moving on up Apprenticeship Programme at the next meeting
  • Lead: FP
  • Use by/status: Next meeting

Welcome and minutes of last meeting 17 August 2021

DS opened the meeting and asked for feedback on the last minutes.

New Skills East Sussex priorities

CB presented the main priorities for Skills East Sussex for 2021 to 2030 which have been in consultation with task groups, including the Visitor Economy.

The Skills East Sussex Board consists of a variety of agencies working together to set priorities. Key sector task groups are focused on addressing skills shortages in their sector.  Principles of the SES priorities are putting employers at the heart of what we do; working towards above average skills and East Sussex gaining a reputation as a place that skills are invested in and careers develop. We need to get both teachers and young people to understand the labour market and where the opportunities are in the Visitor Economy.

The 6 priorities identified for 2021 to 2030: 

  1. Ensuring national policy and funding does support the delivery of learning and skills in East Sussex
  2. Enabling our FE/HE establishments to recruit excellent educators with specialist technical knowledge
  3. Improving our digital skills and digital inclusion
  4. Upskilling our workforce to increase regional productivity
  5. Supporting the unemployed and unqualified
  6. Skills for a Net Zero Future

Aim is to draw up an action plan for Construction and the other sector task groups. Discussion on how to address these priorities and what practical steps can be taken.

CllrM - advised Net Zero skills training is a priority for Eastbourne Borough Council. Levelling Up Fund of £20m coming into the town, plus a number of projects, lack of skills is an issue. There is funding from CITB for short courses to upskill the workforce. Growth in retro fitting, but skills shortage is affecting ability to deliver. 

DS – there is currently a project to set up 5 decarbonisation academies across Sussex. There are 2 in East Sussex, 1 in Hastings, Ore Valley and 1 in Eastbourne. Hosting some micro events to talk about what skills and qualifications are needed. 

CllrM – asked what was happening with regard to hydrogen.  DS confirmed under the Strategic Development Fund in Sussex there were 5 projects with Chichester College are leading on alternative commercial forms of energy, including hydrogen. All projects to be completed by March 2022.

SW – commented that it was easier to agree and design a curriculum and build net zero into the existing programmes, but better to define training needs for existing staff.

DS – advised that there were a lot of courses coming up. There is a Net Zero skills boot camp which will involve a 13-week programme to upskill people in areas of green technology.

CllrM - advised that there is no confidence in the existing suppliers at the moment and there is no link up between suppliers and the funding that the government is providing.

AB – Advised they were working on temporary and supported accommodation and asked whether there were any opportunities for apprenticeships for people like ex-offenders. FC advised they should meet up to discuss this further.

Action 1

CB asked for volunteers for a working group to develop the action plan –contact CB or SM.

Careers Hub update

MB – introduced himself as the enterprise coordinator for the East Sussex Careers Hub.

There is an Industry Champion event on 3 December 2021 at 9.30am to 10.30am. It will be an opportunity to re-engage industry champions who may have been furloughed and to bring in new people to promote the sector to young people.

Open Doors launched in November, with over 300 students visiting businesses, thanks to everyone that is involved. Anyone who might be interested in getting involved in the Spring Open Doors, please contact Matt or Kim Bulgin.

Action 2

Contact the Careers Hub about Spring Open Doors at Enterprise coordinator.

The Careers Hub are recruiting volunteer enterprise advisers (EAs) for St Leonards Academy, Crowborough, Rye, Seaford and some of the special schools. The EA role works strategically with a matched school to support them to improve their careers provision; link with the world of work; introduce the school to contacts in their network so that the school can invite people in to talk with students about their careers journeys.

Action 3

Contact the Careers Hub about becoming an enterprise adviser at Enterprise coordinator.

Ruth Francis has put together a brochure of success stories from 2021 which went out to over 9000 devices over October as a virtual event as reported in the Careers Hub case studies booklet. 

The Hub are developing resources to embed how Maths is used in careers and employment into the curriculum.

Action 4

Anyone able to help develop maths resources with ideas and scenarios showing how maths is used in their businesses contact the Careers Hub at Enterprise coordinator.

MB added they are putting together a resource bank, including video, to support young people in the recruitment process.

SM – will be the East Sussex representative for the CEC (Careers Enterprise Company) local regional leads.

Moving on Up Programme

VP – introduced ESTAR,a project that sits within Skills East Sussex, focussing on employability for people living in supported or temporary accommodation and refuges. Moving on Up supports individuals into apprenticeship and jobs with training. 58 referrals so far with a talent pool of individuals looking to apply for positions with mentor support and financial incentives to help with accommodation, travel, childcare and other in work costs. DW continued that it is a very flexible package tailored to individual needs. Meets priority 5 of supporting the unemployed and unqualified. Many candidates at level 2 or below so hope is to increase skills and prospects. Moving On Up! - SCTP is looking for employers with live vacancies or expected vacancies in the future.  The referral process is very simple. An employer grant of £4,000 is payable and there is access to a £3,000 government incentive, but the scheme is due to end at end of March 2022.

SM - asked what the timeline was, DW confirmed that jobs have to be in by 31 March 2022 and are at least a 12-month contract with training.

SM - described a recent offender he worked with and advised that employers should not be put off by where a perspective employee comes from. Short time frame – extension would be good.

FC - Thanked SM for the endorsement of learners who may have a stigma around them.

Action 5

SM requested more information on the Moving on up Apprenticeship Programme

Partner update

NM - asked for help as Optivo are looking to run some road work training but do not have anywhere to do it. JB - confirmed they had a 5-acre highways depot they could use.

VP – advised that the Transform Programme is coming to the end of the first year, this was to support construction industry and recruit apprentices. A further 2-year funding due in March; any SMEs looking to engage with apprenticeships contact VP at Transform Programme

CB advised that Stephen Burkes will be joining the team next week and will be instrumental in driving the task groups forward.

Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) consultation session

This section was presented by RiF on behalf on the Chamber of Commerce.

Key points covered:

Today is one of a number of consultation/listening exercises across Sussex to form Sussex’s response (due in March 2022) to the Government Skills for Jobs White Paper published in January 2021.  LSIP unifies East and West Sussex and Brighton and Hove around the skills improvement strategy.  8 business-led (Sussex Chamber of Commerce) LSIP Trailblazers were announced in July, of which Sussex is one. The plan will be written by businesses in partnership with educational organisations, local authorities and the voluntary sector.

The plan is to be sent to DfE for consideration and will make the case for why skills and economic growth are intertwined. As one of only 8 areas that are being looked at in the first instance, Sussex will have a direct line to DfE and potentially significant funding. 

There is recognition that Covid has affected the short and long-term labour markets. It has had a significant impact on the construction industry with shortages in all trades as well as difficulties in the supply chain.

Discussion covered challenges and opportunities particular to Sussex. These included the poor public transport links, especially at evenings and weekends and into rural areas and the ageing population. Key issues are, or have been:

  • fewer job applications from EU nationals and students (Brexit impact)
  • hard to fill vacancies
  • salary inflation
  • supply chain
  • lack of facilities for training

And in relation to Covid pandemic:

  • difficulty in getting supplies
  • how to support the self employed
  • funding and support for training

However, there is a lot happening in the sector, now [word missing] have the opportunity to look at the future:

  • Additional investment in Construction
  • Green Growth Initiatives

Discussion opened:

SM - mentioned the decline in the teaching staff in FE colleges – retiring or moving out of the sector. Teaching pay would need to align with industry levels.

DS - confirmed it is a problem with all trades particularly those that require a full level 3 for a licence to practice. Working on recruiting people but the construction area is buoyant at the moment and people do not want to leave industry to teach with a lower salary.

RiF - asked if there was anything that had helped, for example Taking Teaching Further and Teach Too.

DS - confirmed that there had been some success with engineering and IT and the programme had been extended. He also suggested that joined up working between training providers and employers is a partial solution to the problem.

TH - encourage some employers to go into classes to discuss their specialisms, types of equipment and materials that are used on site rather the ones used in the college. Another idea was to encourage employers to adopt a college and work closely with them.

DS - questioned how we get people in careers and enterprise companies champions: a good model. Will not solve issue completely but may help. The more you engage with different employers and different individuals the narrower the gaps become.

JB - discussed the various graduates that had been recruited into highways – chemist, accountant, civil engineer. RF asked whether the local educator providers are aware of the variety jobs that are available. JB said he thought that only the typical and expected types of jobs were being advertised.

VP - confirmed shortages across the whole sector including apprenticeship assessors.

FR - would like to see more engagement in people from a younger age. Not only starting in secondary schools, but starting earlier at primary level. Not getting applications for projects from local people, wondering whether it is about the lack of engagement. Need more employer engagement and to inspire more site visits. What students learn in schools and colleges is not what they find when going to work. Really struggling to recruit local people and wonder whether it is about the lack of engagement at a younger age.   

RiF - discussed that goodwill and favours were relied on before but getting a plan in writing may help.

VP – highlighted that staff shortages and recruitment were an issue across the sector.

CE - small social value budget for Sussex Highways, they have been targeting 0 to 7-year-olds to get them to understand what is available and it is not just for boys. It is very important to ensure that construction is for everyone and is very passionate about getting women into construction. 

RiF - advised that MA is doing one-to-one chats and follow-up engagements with employers and to get in touch with her.

DC - confirmed that prior to Covid he was visiting schools and agreed that students do not realise what is available and these visits do make a difference. Also suggested that maybe there could be a role for teaching assistants within construction. 

RiF - advised it was a good idea, it all comes down to money but will make a note.

SM - councils needs to be aware that businesses have to make money and are not charities. This plan will not work if there is a reliance on businesses to run all training. If employers have too many hoops to jump through they will walk away. Not everyone needs upskilling.

RiF - confirmed it was a very important point. Local governments have an obligation to have value for money.

FR - IT and technology can be difficult because things move fast and also systems taught in schools and colleges are not what is being used in employment. Challenge trying to upskill the workforce.

TH - looking at the skills priority of the future, the Net Zero requirement is showing the need for a whole new set of skills.

DS – agreed about training providers in construction. Majority of provision is single-based trades and really needs to adapt to multi skill which will be a challenge.

RiF thanked everyone for their contributions and confirmed that there was still time for everyone to be part of the process. Contact RiF or MA at with a written submission or for a more in-depth conversation.

AOB (any other business)

SM advised that DS would be leaving at the end of December to go to East Kent College Group as Chief Transformation officer. SM thanks DS for his contribution to the group. CB advised it was not known yet who would be taking over but there were be a comprehensive handover package made available.

SM - decision made for next meeting in February or March 2022 to be via MS Teams.

Meeting finished.

Next meeting

Date of next meeting: to be confirmed.

Attendees and apologies


  • SM, Scott Monk, GM Monk Limited - Joint Chair
  • DS, Daniel Shelley, East Sussex College Group - Joint Chair
  • CllrM, Councillor Murray, Lewes and Eastbourne District Council
  • AB, Adam Bennett, East Sussex Procurement Hub
  • ABa, Andrew Barton, Senior Operation Manager NCFE
  • AI, Andy Isted, Gatwick Airport
  • CB, Caroline Bragg, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager ESCC
  • CD, Clare Dermott, Procurement, Gatwick Airport
  • CE, Clair Eastes, Head of Customer Service East Sussex Highway
  • CW, Claire Witz, Sussex Chamber of Commerce
  • DC, Dermot Clarke, Employment Advisor Eastbourne Job Centre
  • DW, Dan Wallman, Sussex Council of Training Providers, LSIP Digital Lead
  • FC, Florence Cape, EStar Employment Co-ordinator ESCC
  • FR, Faye Russell, B3Ts Laing O Rourke
  • GG, Gareth Gray, Procurement Gatwick Airport
  • GR, Gill Ramsey, East Sussex College Business Team
  • JB, James Bailey, Roadways
  • JC, Jackie Church, CXK
  • JR, Janice Renowden, On Microsoft
  • JT, Jeremy Taylor, The Company Connector
  • MA, Michele Augousti, Stakeholder Engagement Lead Sussex Chamber of Commerce
  • MB, Matt Brill, Careers Hub, ESCC
  • MC, Martine Corbett, Willmott Dixon
  • NM, Naomi Mileham, Optivo
  • PJ, Paul Jennings, Morgan Sindall
  • RiF, Richard Freeman, Always Possible
  • RM, Rose Miller, University of Brighton
  • RP, Richard Pickett, Willmott Dixon
  • SB, Stephen Burkes, Skills Solutions, ESCG
  • SG, Sonja Gardner, DWP
  • SH, Steve Hayman, Cheesmur Building Contractors
  • SHa Susan Harrison, Austin Cradles
  • SR, Shirley Ratcliffe, CITB
  • ST, Sara Taylor, Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Councils
  • TH, Tracey Hill, Home Builders Federation, Skills Partnership
  • VP, Vanessa Potter, Sussex Council of Training Providers (STCP)


  • SG, Sue Gothard, Clerk Skills and Employment Strategy ESCC
  • DM, Donnalyn Morris, Project Officer Skills and Employment Strategy ESCC


  • CC, Clare Clifford, TrAC
  • CT, Chris Tunbridge, BLB Surveyors
  • DB, Derek Bulled, CDS Electrical
  • MatR, Matthew Roberts, ESCG
  • MP, Marc Pope, CITB
  • RMcP, Rosalie McPhrazier, ESCC Procurement
  • RG, Rachel Groves, Volker Fitzpatrick
  • SHaw, Sarah Hawes, Hawes Construction
  • TM, Tom Marshall, Currie Brown