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Supply Chain Companies Receive Learning Boost

28 April 2015

Costain is helping to set up a new forum to improve skills in the construction/engineering sector. 

Under a collaborative initiative with Skanska, Laing O’Rourke and Carillion, together with industry partners Build Offsite, BRE and Action Sustainability, it has helped create the Offsite School.

More than 160 attendees from the construction/engineering sector assembled at Siemens Crystal Building in London’s Docklands recently to launch the school. Its primary objective is to provide learning material and share best practice in offsite construction. It is free to join and use, and is aimed primarily at small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

It covers a variety of topics, such as designing-in quality from a project’s outset, logistics and safety. Participants can choose from 12 modules covering these and other topics.

“You need to do an assessment plan initially that gives you a focus on which subjects you need to know a little more about,” said Steve Fozard, Costain’s Supply Chain Manager for Factory Thinking, who is leading the Company’s involvement in the school.

“It’s a self-assessment, but if you want to get the most out of it you have to be honest with your input. Evidence shows that people want to learn and they answer accurately.” People attending the Offsite School generally take three modules at once.

Learning is undertaken through the modules, regional events – Costain is hosting one in the Midlands in the autumn – master classes and factory visits.

Government funding helps to pay for the project.

The highlight of the launch event was an address from Peter Hansford, author of the Construction Report 2025, who is also the Government’s Special Adviser on Construction.

“I think the industry has moved a long way in collaboration over the last few years, but it’s got a long way to go,” said Peter. “The thing with offsite thinking is that it requires the input of all levels of the supply chain, right from the earliest stage. And that won’t work without collaboration across the supply chain. What’s in it for suppliers is that this is the future. If you don’t get involved, you are going to be left behind. You’ve really got to get on board!”

Steve is keen to get the Offsite School better-known within Costain: “As a business we need to make sure our employees know this facility exists. We need to launch it to our colleagues so they are aware of it and get them to cascade it to our supplier via our business to business meetings.”

Pictured: Attendees and leadership team members from the first Offsite School session in Canary Wharf.


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