Build June (2016)

Build Magazine 75 abilities best developed in the classroom or workshop. Surely all stakeholders should be involved in the transformation of the VET system, including employee and employer representatives, colleges and the government, as in most leading European countries, including France, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries? In the 1970s an important role played by the government in addressing economic decline was through the National Economic Development Council, supported by the National Economic Development Office (NEDO), one of whose subsidiary organisations was concerned with the construction and engineering construction sectors. This was abandoned by the Thatcher government and finally abolished in 1992, though its equivalent continues to exist at European Union level in the Economic and Social Committee, an advisory assembly composed of “social partners”, namely employers’ organisations and trade unions and representatives of various other interests - including from the UK. Isn’t it now time that the UK state, together with construction employers, construction trade unions and educational institutions, and working with bodies in the European Union, took more initiative? The construction sector needs to transform itself from a business that excludes trade unionists, women, those from BAME groups and young people to become an inclusive, productive and energy efficient industry with a highly qualified, directly employed workforce.