‘Construction skills academy’ to train 25,000 workers

A multinational building materials firm has announced it is to build a "construction skills academy" which, it claims, will train 25,000 workers over the next five years.

Saint-Gobain said the facility, which will be located near Lucan, will train all of the key construction professionals including builders, architects, and tradespeople.

“Courses will cover a wide range of topics from practical site installation courses to building physics and building regulations courses,” it said.

Brian Dolan, managing director for the Saint-Gobain building materials businesses in Ireland, said: “This is a red letter day for construction in Ireland as it marks the most significant investment in education and training in the industry since the crash of 2008... There is a massive shortage of skilled workers in the Irish construction industry, which is a key factor in the lack of housing supply.

“We are opening this skills academy as a vote of confidence in the Irish building industry which will triple housing output by 2020.”

The academy was officially opened by Energy Minister Alex White, who said: “We need a workforce that is highly skilled and appropriately qualified. This applies not just to construction workers but also to architects, engineers, and other construction professionals. Achieving the goal of an energy-efficient building is no longer someone else’s job. It should be the job of everyone on a site.”

Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), said: “Now that the construction sector is starting to grow again we need to ensure there are sufficient skills in the industry to carry out all the projects that are expected to be delivered in the coming years. Saint Gobain are to be congratulated for investing in their skills academy.

“It is a forward-looking initiative that will benefit the industry for many years to come.”

Saint-Gobain had sales of €42bn in 2013. It operates in 64 countries and has nearly 190,000 employees.


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