A new pilot scheme set up by Burton and South Derbyshire College aims to boost the number of carpenters and joiners in the region by fast tracking qualified construction college leavers into their specialist job area and getting them prepared for the world of work.
The programme comes with the hopes that it will reduce the risk of students falling away from the sector or unemployment.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) funded "boot camp" has been developed by the Home Builders Federation's Home Building Skills Partnership and is working with five further education providers across the country.
This includes Burton and South Derbyshire College's Construction Academy, in Swadlincote, which is matching eight out of the nationwide total of 33 college leavers taking part in the pilot with potential employers.
The initial pilot is focusing on carpentry and joinery, dry lining and bricklaying, which are among the most challenging job areas to recruit to, with the potential to expand across the country into other job areas. Participants have now all completed their training and are being matched with employers.
The boot camp at Burton and South Derbyshire College focuses on carpentry and joinery, and two of the candidates have now secured employment with David Wilson Homes and St Modwen Homes.
Following interview with a potential employer, successful candidates undertake a two to six-week training course at their college to test their competency, enhance their newfound skills, improve speed to support their future employment with home builder firms, and bridge the gap between leaving college and the world of work.
At the end of this boot camp period and following assessment, participants will move on to their sponsor employer sites as paid employees and will also receive CITB funding to achieve their NVQ for their Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) blue skilled card.
Apart from Burton and South Derbyshire College, other pilot boot camps took place at West Suffolk College, Coleg Gwent, Leeds College of Building, and Barking and Dagenham College in Romford. Home-builders on board the pilot include Persimmon, Barratt, and sub-contractors including Absolute Design and Build, Measoms and Astins.
Chris Beech, director of curriculum at Burton and South Derbyshire College, said: "The fast-track programme is a fantastic opportunity for students to further develop the skills they have acquired at college, in preparation for employment within the construction industry.
"Students will build on the College's Skills Promise by enhancing their speed and accuracy skills, ensuring that they are job ready from day one of employment."
Jenny Herdman, director of the Home Building Skills Partnership, said: "Colleges play a key role in getting people trained in specialist trades, but we know that it's not always enough to secure them employment.
"Nationally, the overall retention rate of construction college leavers moving into their specialist trades is a major challenge and we need them in home building. As an industry, we need to get better at transitioning college leavers from construction courses into employment.
"This fast track programme aims to get more site-ready people entering the home building industry and so help increase industry capacity.
"Ultimately, we want to see an established pathway for new entrants from full-time courses to the home building sector.
"The response from industry has been extremely encouraging, and we look forward to supporting the young home builders of the future every step of the way into their new career.
"We would urge even more home building companies to get involved and support this pioneering initiative."
Local home building employers can find out how to get on board with the pilot programme by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.