Training course for jobs in local construction

Photo courtesy of the St. Andrew’s Resource Centre

An initiative to upskill the unemployed to fulfil the job criteria desired by building contractors involved in the construction at the local North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) is underway.

The three-week course covers all the legal, health and safety certificates construction workers are required to have before they step foot on to a site. It is free to apply for if you are unemployed and already its first two courses have been fully subscribed and the St Andrew’s Resource Centre are awaiting funding for a third run.
As part of the original masterplan for the Dublin docklands development, a stipulation meant that the developers were required to have a certain percentage of their staff coming from the local area but, unfortunately, this was an impossible task, as the skilled workforce wasn’t there at the time. However, now in conjunction with the DCC, Dublin Port and the Dublin Docklands this opportunity to enable the unemployed to return to work is being taken advantage of.

The practical aspects of this three-week course will be taught on a location in Dublin Port which mimics a construction site, allowing instructors supplied by Construction Industry Training (CIT) to train the unemployed in the most essential skills needed to find work in the construction industry. These include the safety use of harnesses at heights, the erection of scaffolding, use of the consaws and the angle grinder, vehicle banksman and basic labourer training. It also comes with a workshop to guide trainees in their application for work, including preparing a CV and the interview itself.

Although the push for developers to employ locals is only an objective of the Docklands SDZ and not a legal requirement, the DCC have made assurances to the St. Andrew’s Resource Centre that if developers don’t meet those objectives the DCC say that the planning enforcement department will shut it down, which will hurt developers financially for each day the site lays dormant.
The SDZ is a long-term affair and this is just the beginning. St. Andrew’s Resource Employment Coordinator Jim Hargis spoke with NewsFour about the project: “Our aim for some time now has been to deliver an accessible course that demonstrates real work skills to employers, something they say they desire for obvious reasons and we have started with the construction industry, where we see job vacancies and a skills gap, particularly at general operative level. We have written to all the TD’s and Senators in the area to bring them this good news story, and all being well, we believe that we can continue to deliver this model of engagement and move many more from the live long-term unemployment register.”

In the past, developers were using international recruitment agencies for the construction jobs and they could be delivered from outside the country when required, but if this is successful these developers won’t have to look far afield for their skilled workforce and will prevent any day stoppages of work due to meeting the local workforce objectives of the Docklands SDZ.

By Paul Carton