Saint-Gobain launched its first Technical Academy in the UK at East Leake in Leicestershire. This has been developed to help address the skills gap facing the UK construction industry – a key barrier to meeting targets for improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of our built environment.
As Building Regulations become tighter, construction industry professionals are finding themselves faced with products and systems that can require very different skills from more traditional building materials and methods. The Academy will focus on equipping industry with key knowledge about the sustainable building agenda as well as the vital skills needed to deliver this.
The 2,500 sq ft facility, which includes a classroom and dry and wet trades training areas, will be able to train upwards of 30 people per day. It will offer classroom based and practical courses covering a range of subjects. These include internal and external acoustic and thermal insulation, drylining, plastering and flooring. The training offer will be developed continually to keep pace with changing regulatory and building design requirements and it will be supplemented by bespoke courses to meet specific industry needs. The Academy also includes a large showroom which will enable trainees to see large scale models showing Saint-Gobain products and systems in a range of new build and refurbishment applications.
Training will be provided by experts from the company’s UK manufacturing businesses, including British Gypsum, Isover and Weber which are experts in their respective fields. It will be targeted at a range of experienced industry professionals, including contractors, builders’ merchants and architects looking to up-skill, as well as new recruits to the industry.
Over the next year, additional Saint-Gobain Technical Academies will be rolled out throughout the UK, starting with the launch of an additional site in Bristol next month, providing the industry with access to a nationwide network of knowledge and expertise.
Peter Hindle MBE, general delegate for Saint-Gobain in the UK, Ireland and South Africa, said: “We need to support our customers by helping them seize the opportunities related to the sustainable building agenda. Through the Academy we can provide access to the very latest knowledge and training. And by sharing our resources with them we can work together to close the skills gaps and create the work force to deliver the buildings of the future.”
Neil Jefferson, chief executive of the Zero Carbon Hub, comments: “It’s great to see Saint-Gobain’s continued support to helping the UK construction industry. This new Technical Academy will make a real contribution to improving the understanding of the entire construction team in ways that they can minimise environmental impacts and reduce risk, both for those involved and for future owners and occupiers.”
Jonathan Cherry, head of product marketing at British Gypsum, said: “As the leading manufacturer and distributor of solutions, products and systems for sustainable construction, Saint-Gobain is uniquely placed to provide expert advice and practical training on a wide range of skills that help make sustainable construction a reality.
“The drive for low and zero carbon buildings and the supporting legislative changes are resulting in the need to improve the knowledge and technical capabilities of the construction industry as a whole. We believe the creation of the Saint-Gobain Technical Academy network will provide vital training to support the industry. The opening of our first UK Technical Academy in East Leake is an important step in making this goal a reality.”
The Technical Academy builds upon Saint-Gobain’s existing offer which includes a number of company-specific training facilities across the UK, a purpose-built Technical Academy in Ireland covering the Gyproc, Weber and Isover brands and its Greenworks Training Academy in Birmingham.