Essex Council offering BIM businesses grants to take-on trainees

If your company is a Building Information Modelling centric business based in Essex and is looking for a reason to hire new staff, then this report may be music to your ears.

Essex County Council, in association with NFB Business & Skills’ BIM Champion programme, are giving businesses who have either adopted BIM or interested in doing so an incentive to raise technological knowledge within the youth of today (people aged between 19 and 24), those who are the future of the architecture, engineering and construction industries.


What is the aforementioned incentive, you ask? A £4,000 grant per trainee that your company hires.


This latest initiative, the Digital Skills for Growth programme, was started by the Essex Employment and Skills Board, who aim to tackle a lack of education and training across a number of fields including computer aided design, web site design and development, IT project management, software development and of course, Building Information Modelling.


The scheme could not have been started at a more crucial time for the construction industry. BIM is the future and soon to be an industry normality and normality, yet many companies are not to the standard that they should be. At a recent BIM2050 event, Head of BIM at the BIM Task Group, David Philp discussed that very soon, only half of the construction industry’s workers will be needed as only half of them will be embracing the future – BIM.


Philp said: “The construction industry contributes almost £90bn to the UK economy (6.7% of the total) and its value comprises of 280,000 firms employing 2.93 million people, most of that employment is skilled labour. What will happen when we only need half of that labour?”


Trainees that can qualify for the grant can be hired in two ways: either externally recruit a young person between the ages 19 to 24 or if a current employee is reaching the end of their fixed term or temporary contract (last three months), then they can also be accepted onto the scheme should they be taking on a new position.


The £4000 grant must meet a number of criteria. A client can choose any accredited or unaccredited course and deliver it in a way that suits them, as long as it costs under the £4000 figure. More than one course can also be chosen should you see fit or want to get the most out the programme. Another key feature is that any training provider can be used, whether located inside or outside of Essex. In addition, only corporations currently trading and who are based in Greater Essex including Southend and Thurrock unitary authorities can take part.


Speaking about the Digital Skills for Growth venture, Francis Domoney, Chief Information Scientist of BYODToolkit Ltd (who are involved in the scheme) told BIMcrunch:“We are setting up two new BIM hubs in Suffolk and Essex to inform local companies, facilitate adoption, and point them at appropriate training to learn how to achieve savings of up to 20% on the cost of projects and integrate into the new working methods.


The companies who don’t learn will be left behind and be part of the forecast 50% reduction in the headcount in the industry.”


Chair of the Essex Employment and Skills Board Suzanne Jude said: “We’ve listened to feedback from businesses and used this information to develop a programme that addresses not only the needs of employers but also assists young people into new and emerging careers in the digital arena. We hope this will begin to address skills shortages and youth unemployment in the county.”


Learn more about the Digital Skills for Growth programme here.


RELATED: BIM Academy brings its Virtual Project course to Hong Kong & Australia