NETA Training launches satellite scaffolding centre to tackle industry skills gap

NETA Training has launched a new satellite centre to help meet an increasing demand for scaffolding training.

The new facility, in South Bank, will offer a foot on the ladder to trainee scaffolders starting out in their new careers, while freeing up capacity for industry professionals to upskill and refresh their training.

NETA’s commercial training manager, Sean Johnston, said: “With a long history of delivering scaffolding training at NETA’s Stockton site, this an exciting opportunity to expand our capacity and, hopefully, assist in plugging the sector’s emerging skills gaps.”

Sean continued: “The scaffolding industry has been facing skills gaps, both locally and nationally, for some time due to issues such as an ageing workforce. This has been exacerbated by a shortage of training, with waiting lists impacted further in the last two years by the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Labour skills shortages were identified recently in a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), raising fears that, along with supply and transport issues affected by driver shortages, the skills gaps could impact on the wider construction industries.

Sean Johnston

An integral part of the building process, Sean said: “There’s lots of building work going on, as part of the government’s Build Back Better agenda, and scaffolders are essential to that.”

Welcoming the plans to expand NETA’s training capacity, Paul Ward, managing director of Swale Scaffolding Ltd, said: “There’s definitely a shortage of scaffolders, certainly in our area.”

For young ones, he said being out on site might not seem as appealing as working in a nice warm supermarket or warehouse, but he added: “It is a good career with plenty of opportunities to progress, certainly within this company. Every contract manager we have, started on the tools.”

Paul is quick to point out, it’s not just building sites that need scaffolders. He said: “Look at your Olympic and World Cup venues.”

Preferring to grow their own talent from the ground up, Swale Scaffolding Ltd has been working with NETA Training to upskill their workers for 20 years. He said: “Every year we have new starters coming through. Safety is a massive part of our business; we want people to be trained to do things the right way and so NETA expanding its capacity is brilliant for us.”

Offering the full suite of scaffolding courses and apprenticeship training at NETA’s Stockton site, accredited by CISRS, Sean explained the new satellite centre will increase training capacity by up to 58 scaffolders and 20 apprentices this year.

Situated at The Material Processing Institute on Eston Road, the 380 square metre facility will offer workshop space and classrooms to deliver entry level courses and training.

NETA’s commercial training manager, Sean, said: “We are really excited to be able to bring this additional facility to the Tees Valley, enabling us to meet the training needs of the scaffolding industry on Teesside and the wider area.

“With support from CISRS and industry employers, it’s magnificent to see the new site up and running, and to be able to play our part in offering a solution to a real industry challenge and hopefully help close the skills gap.”

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NETA Training Group