11 July 2017

Digital engineering hub BIM Academy, Sunderland-based engineering consultancy Desco and NBS, who provide technical information, specification and Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools to construction industry professionals, have all signed up to become sponsors of PlanBEE.

The scheme was launched last year when Gateshead College and Ryder Architecture formed a powerful alliance with a network of architects, designers, contractors and engineering specialists. Together they developed a unique, flexible training programme designed to attract and retain the brightest new talent in the region, plug skills gaps, and create a more flexible workforce capable of working across various construction disciplines.

The first tranche of students enrolled onto the programme in September 2016 and all have been retained, with a second cohort set to start in the autumn.

Rather than follow a traditional training model where students complete their qualifications while working in one company, PlanBEE gives trainees the chance to work across several companies and therefore gain a more rounded understanding of the built environment industry.

Students will now benefit from a wider range of expertise with Desco, NBS and BIM Academy on board.

Newcastle-based BIM Academy, which was established in 2010 through a joint venture between Ryder Architecture and Northumbria University, is looking to take on at least one student from the new cohort who start in September. The organisation helps companies to understand the value of building information modelling (BIM), which can help industry risk-assess projects at an early stage by generating 3D models of buildings before construction takes place.

Peter Barker, MD of BIM Academy, said: “We are delighted to sign up to PlanBEE, which is an excellent way of creating a pipeline of fresh talent for the industry. It’s well-known that there are severe skills shortages in some areas of the North East built environment industry and the education and private sectors are working together to address this pressing issue.”

Paul Baker, technical director at Desco (Design & Consultancy) said: “PlanBEE is an inspirational, sector-wide partnership that is helping to shape future talent and inspire people to consider a rewarding career in the world of construction. Desco is an industry leader in engineering design and we are proud to play our part in an initiative that showcases the industry benefits of working across several construction disciplines.”         

Ian Chapman, director of content at Newcastle-based NBS, said: “We’re delighted to sponsor a scheme that allows companies and students to explore the potential of using digital technologies on construction projects. There aren’t many courses that combine the digital world with construction and this gives students a chance to learn several disciplines that will stand them in good stead for their chosen career in the built environment industry.”   

Working with Gateshead College, the PlanBEE group has created a bespoke higher level skills programme that provides budding professionals with study and off-the-job training at the college’s construction facility on Team Valley, along with a job working with some of the region’s leading companies. It has been tailored specifically for and by the North East construction sector, providing students with a starting salary of £10,700 per year, a professional qualification and a guaranteed job opportunity on graduation.

Established by Ryder Architecture, the scheme has already attracted some high-profile names, including Brims Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine, Xsite Architecture, Robertson, 3e Consulting, Cundall, Arup, FaulknerBrowns, Sadler Brown Architecture and Tolent.  

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said: “We are thrilled to have BIM Academy, Desco and NBS on board at PlanBEE, which is tailored for and led by the specific needs of industry. We are working closely with the sector to ensure that the training provides companies with vital skills that enable them to become more productive and competitive, both now and in the long run.”

Mark Thompson, managing partner at Ryder Architecture, added: “PlanBEE allows companies to benefit from a greater convergence of skills traditionally sat within the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, engineering, surveying and landscaping. Employers have been saying for quite a while now that the industry needed a new way of working and PlanBEE moves away from traditional, unfit-for-purpose training models to one which directly benefits industry and students.”

Over the course of time, PlanBEE aims to address deep-rooted skills shortages in the built environment industry. The Construction Skills Network’s most recent ‘Insight’ report said an extra 179,000 UK construction jobs will need to be filled from 2017-2021 to meet rapid growth in demand for infrastructure and housebuilding across the country.

To find out more about NBS visit www.theNBS.com

For more information, please contact NBS PR Executive Jennifer Scullion on 0191 244 5523 or email Jennifer.Scullion@theNBS.com.

Image shows (l-r) Paul Baker (Desco), Peter Barker (BIM Academy), Helen Whitfield (NBS), Helen Whitfield (Ryder Architecture), Chris Toon (Gateshead College).

About NBS

NBS, specialist provider of technical information for construction industry professionals, offers essential, innovative products and services, highly valued by those working in architecture, construction, design and engineering.

The premier source of construction-related information, NBS has produced the recognised national standard specification system for the UK for more than 40 years. It provides solutions for a broad range of new build, refurbishment, retrofit, landscaping and domestic projects for construction professionals. Delivered within a powerful software package, NBS’s specification products continue to develop, leading an evolution of the specification and procurement process for buildings in the UK and overseas. NBS also provides solutions for contract administration and project information management.

NBS Create is a ground-breaking new specification tool that ensures all documentation works together intelligently throughout the entire project timeline, from concept stage to completion and beyond, to save time and money. More than 5,000 offices across the UK subscribe to NBS products, including 96 of the top 100 AJ practices.

The award winning NBS National BIM Library is also the primary source of free-to-use Building Information Modelling (BIM) content in the UK. It contains thousands of generic and proprietary BIM objects authored to the trusted NBS standard, all of which are data rich and are integrated with the world leading NBS specification software.

NBS is part of RIBA Enterprises Ltd, the knowledge management company of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). RIBA Enterprises employs 250 staff and has offices in London, Newcastle upon Tyne and Newark.