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CIOB News


Chris Blythe Getting used to change


Fees hike hits sandwich courses


The dramatic hike in university tuition fees is already resulting in a sharp decline in the number of popular construction sandwich courses offered by universities, according to the results of a CIOB survey. The survey also suggests that the number of mature students being sponsored by their employers on part- time degrees is also likely to decline. Meanwhile, a survey of construction


employers undertaken by the UKCG also found that employers are turning away from sponsoring or employing "sandwich" students as the impact of £9,000-a-year tuition fees starts to bite. In January, the CIOB surveyed 45


universities that offer CIOB-accredited construction courses, receiving 17 responses. Asked whether the new fees had already affected applicant numbers, 61% said they didn't yet know, 28% said they had and 9% said they hadn't. The results also showed that courses


where students spend 12 or six months of the course working for an employer had already been hit. All 17 of those that responded said they would not be offering sandwich courses starting in September. The UKCG also conducted its survey in January, receiving responses from 20


“Construction employers often sponsor older students through degree courses, but the new fees will obviously affect the part-time route.”


Rosalind Thorpe, CIOB


construction employers. This revealed that only 13 were planning to sponsor students on construction sandwich courses starting in 2012. Apart from sponsored students,


the group was planning to employ 82 sandwich students (on six or 12-month placements) in 2012 — an average of four per company. For summer placements, the respondents indicated they would be taking on 59 students in total. The new fees system is also likely to


reduce the number of students sponsored by their employer to study part-time. Previously, part-time students — or their employers — had to pay the fees upfront, but now both full-time and part-time students defer payment until after graduation. The change could make part- time courses more popular for students who can combine earning and learning. But sponsoring employers will now find


that fees have rocketed. "Construction employers often sponsor older students through degree courses, but the new fees will obviously affect the part-time route. They typically now cost £4,000 a year, but last five years — so the employer now has to find £20,000," said Rosalind Thorpe, head of education at the CIOB.


NHBC takes its training expertise Down Under The NHBC has acted as


a consultant for a new Construction Management Simulation Centre in Melbourne, Australia. This follows the success of the NHBC Training Services’ centre in Coventry. This new training facility uses actors and state-of-the-art, real-time virtual reality construction imagery through a 180-degree screen, which features a wide variety of scenarios, from a small, rural housing scheme to a multi- million pound high-rise office. Michiel Schrijver, the creator


of the first centre in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands ,recently signed an agreement with the Master Builder Association of


8 | MARCH 2012 | CONSTRUCTION MANAGER


Victoria in Melbourne to deliver the UK version, ACT-UK, for the Australian construction market. Dave Towell, training services


project manager at NHBC, joined other educational specialists and product developers from the UK and Netherlands to help on key aspects of the proposed centre. Development work undertaken by NHBC included the tailoring of courses for the Australian market on issues such as industrial relations, dealing with project delays and managing site quality and assisting the "actors" with construction terminology and cultural differences. Towell said: “This project has been a great opportunity to


The feedback in the last edition of CM regarding my article setting out the strategic direction of the institute was encouraging. There is a dawning realisation that change has to happen and that while this may mean things are different, it does not mean they will be worse. The preliminary work we have done on the internationalisation of our qualification has shown that there is a gap between our own assessment of the qualification and what an independent assessment might show. The gap is about process. It is about the independence within our quality assurance. More precisely, it is about the lack of independent review. In an international context, the royal charter has a much lesser significance than we give it. Paradoxically our lesser qualifications, VQs and NVQs, are subject to more external scrutiny than our main qualification, with the result that our lesser qualifications score more highly than the main qualification around independence and objectivity. One response might be to forget


internationalising the qualification, it's a British qualification, take it or leave it. But that’s not a satisfactory response to all the members trying to use the qualification to pursue their career outside the UK. The other response is to say yes, we have global ambitions and we need to respond constructively. We have to adapt the way we quality


use our experience of this form of construction management training on an international scale and further enhance the reputation of NHBC. Directors of the Master Builders Association of Victoria were very impressed by our warranty model and how we support builders and protect homeowners to raise industry standards in the UK."


“This project has been a great opportunity to use our experience of this form of construction.”


Dave Towell, NHBC


assure our existing qualification so that there is no doubt as to where it stands alongside others across the world and this approach will underpin any new qualifications too. I believe the new processes being put in place this year will be demanding but fair. I suspect many people currently in membership might baulk at trying to prove themselves with these new processes. I hear a lot of guff about standards: the more pain involved the higher the standard; standards are an absolute, they don’t vary. I know of some people who really struggled to pass the DMX exams yet others who sailed through with ease. That’s not an issue about the standard, that’s an issue about the person. If we are committed to producing high-quality, well-qualified people, competent to lead this industry wherever they may be, then we need to ensure that what we do and the way we do it meets that purpose and not some other, however well meaning.


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