15 Feb 2016


16-YBUK-6759Alan, the founder, inaugural Chair and current Life President of CAGE GN, was chosen to be the first recipient of Youthbuild UK’s “Ken Claxton Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award”, named in the memory of the Youthbuild founder and creator of the  Young Builder of the Year Awards, which was presented by Ken’s daughter, Kit, at the Youthbuild UK Patrons’ Event, held in the River Room at the House of Lords on 10th February 2016, in recognition of his 70 years involvement in construction.


60 guests, including members of the House of Lords, senior figures from the construction industry, training groups, charities and CITB Chief Executive, Adrian Belton, were present.

Why Alan Crich?

In three words he is “passionate about construction”.

Anyone who knows him or meets him soon understands this. If he were a stick of rock he’d have “construction” running through him.

It all started 70 years ago when Alan had the opportunity to go to the new Technical College in Nottingham. Once there he discovered bricklaying – which completely transformed his life. He then went on the complete a 5 year bricklaying apprenticeship.

60 years ago, after completing his National Service, in addition to being a bricklayer by day, he started teaching bricklaying in the evenings at Basford Hall, Nottingham – the start of helping others to enter the construction industry.

As his career progressed to became responsible for apprentices and training, always helping young people to progress in the industry.

When he set up his own company, 35 years ago, a key aspect was taking on dozens of apprentices, encouraging and supporting them to develop their careers.

Alan retired, in theory, when he was 70, and began a new career, promoting construction wherever and whenever he could, particularly working in schools as an ambassador for CITB, Summit Skills and STEM. Then became a Director of the Nottinghamshire Construction Forum. He also chaired NECTA, who were one of the original members of the Youthbuild Forum, which became  Youthbuild UK.

In 2006, he set up Construction Action Group of Employers Greater Nottingham – a CITB funded Independent Training Group, becoming the original Chair and is now the very active Life President.

This year he has succeeded in setting up a construction course for young people who are at risk of exclusion from school – a lot of arm twisting, but Alan’s determination made it happen!

His next challenge, which he has been hoping to do for 5 years, is to set up a shared apprenticeship scheme in Nottingham. With his continued enthusiasm and determination you wouldn’t bet against him not achieving that as well.

He has been a real inspiration to thousands of people, involved in or finding out about the construction industry over the last 70 years.

Joe Brennan, the Chair of Youthbuild UK said that Alan “was a very worthy winner of the inaugural Ken Claxton Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award.”



03 Feb 2016

Turbo charge your CSCS cards.

With the rise of fraudulent activity across the industry, isn’t it about time you became smart?

CSCS Cards

Did you know?

•    CSCS is the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry and backed by Government
•    There are over two million valid CSCS cards in circulation
•    CSCS cards provide proof that individuals working on construction sites have the required training and qualifications for the work they do

A joint industrywide survey carried out by CSCS and CITB revealed that 86% of card holders are having their cards checked. However, the vast majority of these checks involve a quick visual inspection rather than a detailed examination.

The survey also revealed that only 6% of sites are using smart technology to check the validity of the cards, despite just under one fifth (18%) of site managers reporting having seen a fake card in the last twelve months.

Alan O’Neile, Communications Manager at CSCS, says “unless people use consistent and accurate methods of checking cards to certify worker’s qualifications and the cards validity, the scheme cannot fulfil the role that it was designed for”.

So what is the solution?

The solution to this problem is already widely available and completely free to deploy across your business.

Go-Smart is an innovative PC and smartphone application that has been specifically developed to read CSCS cards electronically, which can be downloaded free of charge here.

Now for the really clever bit…

By registering CSCS cards on SkillSight, the true potential of the card can be unlocked and the burden of recording workforce training and competence and surfacing this information on site, where it is most needed, is completely removed.

Simply load the qualifications, skills and competences of your workforce onto SkillSight and present CSCS cards to the Go-Smart App and all these details will be transferred onto the CSCS smartcard where they can be read and updated whenever required.

It’s as easy as that and it is completely free to use, a CSV data import is also possible.

SkillSight – Isn’t it about time your turbocharged your CSCS card?

Sign Up Now (SkillSight is Completely Free)

03 Feb 2016

With Christmas and New Year celebrations already a dim and distant memory, here at the NHTG, we are moving ever forward. Following the online launch of our Heritage Building Skills Training Toolkit in December, we are working with the Churches Conservation Trust on a more formal launch a little later his year. We would like to feature some case studies of the Toolkit being used, and also highlight these on our website too, so please keep us informed of your project progress and don’t forget to promote the Toolkit and our Training Directory to all your contacts!

Interestingly, this week, I attended a consultation workshop being run by the Heritage Lottery Fund who are planning a third phase of the Skills for the Future Programme for consideration by their Board. It is hoped that this programme will be launched in 2016, so we shall be keeping a close eye on developments here and of course reporting any news through the website and social media channels. As a built heritage skills information hub, we took the opportunity to put forward the proposal that all HLF funded projects that have a building craft or professional skills element are required to be listed on the NHTG website, in addition to any training initiatives offered through these projects. It’s a great way of working in partnership to raise awareness by expanding the advertising for bursary placements and training programmes.

Finally – At the same HLF workshop I, along with many others, spent time lamenting the continuing lack of general knowledge on how to look after old, solid walled buildings amongst everyone from the homeowner, through to architect and contractor. I feel like a broken record, but until basic solid wall construction and conservation principles are included in mainstream construction and relevant undergraduate courses and qualifications, we will not improve the situation. Let me remind you that 20% of UK buildings fit the heritage tag. What therefore, will it take to change the general misconception that heritage somehow means ‘tiny minority’? Answers on a postcard…

Cathie Clarke, will be speaking at our Future of Construction Event on 24th February – you could give your answers in person!

03 Feb 2016

UK construction set for growth – with 230,000 jobs to be created

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is calling for more apprentices as it releases new figures today which forecast annual growth of 2.5% for the next five years – and a massive 232,000 jobs to be created.

 CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) report – the industry’s most comprehensive and up-to-date – predicts sustained growth from 2016-2020, driven by infrastructure and private housing.

Steve Radley, Policy Director at the CITB, says, “All types of training, and especially apprenticeships, will be vital to delivering this pipeline of work. This positive forecast should inspire more people to start apprenticeships, and more firms to take them on.”

New nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point, Somerset, and Wylfa, Anglesey, alongside rail projects such as Crossrail and HS2, will drive year-on-year infrastructure growth of 6.1%. Private housebuilding is another strong area, with the sector returning to levels not seen since before the 2008 financial crash by 2020.

 UK construction growth is set to be fourth in Europe up to 2017, with British builders outstripping those in Germany, France and Spain.

 Annual growth is predicted in all the UK’s regions and nations up to 2020, with Wales faring best with year-on-year growth of 7.1%, followed by London (3.5%), the South West (4.4%) and North West (2.6%).

 In response to the ongoing skills challenge, the CITB is in 2016 launching a series of new partnerships with local and regional training providers to make sure the right training takes place where it is needed most.

 It is also continuing to work closely with the construction industry to further develop Go Construct, an industry-led web portal, to showcase the opportunities in the industry and encourage more people to join the sector. This should help construction firms recruit the talent they need to grow, and help workers learn about all of the great career opportunities available.

 Steve Radley, Director of Policy at the Construction Industry Training Board, said:

We can’t build the Britain we want without growing apprenticeships – and the careers they lead onto. That’s why it is vital that these new statistics, showing solid, sustained growth, inspire more people join the construction industry.

 “We also want to attract workers who have left the industry to return and upskill those currently in the sector, so we can deliver major projects and new housing faster and better.”