NVQ course aimed at attracting civil pupils

A training programme has been launched in the northeast of England in a bid to tackle predicted skills shortages in civil engineering.

A training programme has been launched in the northeast of England in a bid to tackle predicted skills shortages in civil engineering.

Fears have been raised about future employment in the sector and its popularity among young people, which could lead to a shortage of skilled workers.

While many universities and further education colleges offer courses in engineering and manual work, there has been an absence of programmes to train civil engineers.

In a partnership between the North-East Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and Newcastle College, the region has become the first in the country to pilot a vocational qualification to promote the profession to young people and women. The course, which will include practical experience and will lead to the NVQ 2 and 3 qualifications that are necessary to work on sites, will accept its first intake of students in September.

Its future will depend on how many students take up the course in its first year.

Peter Samuel, northeast chairman, CECA, told the Northern Echo: "Digging trenches may not seem the most glamorous or difficult task, but when you consider how exact the planning and measuring has to be in order for the subsequent building to be right, and all the health and safety aspects of working in outdoor conditions, it is more obvious there has to be a high level of training."

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