Scaffolding Association comments on free courses offered to rapidly upskill in STEM sectors including digital construction

Thousands of working adults are set to benefit from free courses that will help them to rapidly upskill or retrain, as part of the government’s drive to plug skills gaps and boost access to higher-quality training alternatives.

Sixty-five short and modular courses will be offered at 10 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) across England in sought-after STEM subjects such as digital construction, and cyber security.

The IoTs have worked with local employers to ensure courses address existing skills gaps, meaning employees from businesses of all sizes will be able to gain in demand new skills or retrain – so that they can progress to higher skilled and higher paid jobs.

The courses will be a blend of classroom and remote studying and will vary in length from 50 to 138 hours – giving greater flexibility in how and when people learn. They will be offered to working adults aged 19 and over, with priority given to those employed locally to an IoT, in related industries.

Additionally, over 100 further and higher education providers have been awarded a share of £18 million to invest in new equipment that will support them to offer higher technical training. This funding will also help them to boost links with local businesses in key sectors such as construction – so that employers can tap into the talented workforce they need for the jobs of the future

Robert Candy, Chief Executive of the Scaffolding Association welcomed the announcement:

“We know that the construction industry is suffering from significant skills shortages and giving greater flexibility to individuals in how and when they learn is critical in helping towards recruiting and retaining workers.

It is also good to see these courses embracing innovation and technology to train delegates and to be addressing the often overlooked, but crucially important subject of cyber security, which businesses must tackle on a much greater scale than they are right now”. 

For more information visit: Thousands more adults set to benefit from new technical skills – GOV.UK (

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