Filling a skills gap in construction: Degrees at Work

In recent years and as a result of the recession, the construction and house-building industries have been hit by a ‘skills void’. This is particularly acute in management. Companies in this sector are finding it increasingly hard to attract and retain talented individuals with the skills required to lead business and sustain growth.

This challenge is being addressed by a partnership between Anglia Ruskin University's Degrees at Work team and construction service providers Tamdown Group. The collaboration has led to the creation of a bespoke business management degree for employers from both the group's companies, Tamdown and Triconnex. The new degree will allow workers to gain vital management theory and practice.

“Tamdown is a growing organisation and we see the degree with Anglia Ruskin as one of the ways we can ensure we have the skills and the people that we need,”

says Norman Greenwald, Head of Learning and Development at the group.

For Tamdown, the provision of a work-based degree programme is key to their staff retention strategy.

“If we can bring people in and grow our own talent, it means we can bridge the skills gap and be an attractive proposition to employees. We want our people to see Tamdown as an organisation where they can have a long-term career and develop themselves in a supportive environment.”

Richard Harpley, MD of TriConnex said:

“This long term investment in the development of our staff is a key part of the TriConnex strategy for continued growth. Being able to tailor the programme to our company needs means we can emphasise aspects of the TriConnex ethos such as client service and reliable operational delivery.”

The Tamdown Group also wants to position itself as the leading organisation for training and development in the sector. By partnering with Degrees at Work, who also work with companies such as Ridgeons and Willmott Dixon, the firm believes it can be instrumental in developing a new generation of highly skilled employees.

“We want to be one of the ‘go-to’ organisations in the construction sector, that’s known for nurturing talent and having a strong leadership base,”

explains Norman.

“It’s really nice to work in an organisation that’s so innovative and takes learning and development so seriously, and that comes straight from the top. Our leadership is incredibly passionate about developing our people. The students on the degree are really enjoying the experience. They’re finding it stretching, and it’s encouraging them to think in new and different ways. The feedback so far is very positive; they tell us that they’re getting a huge amount of value from the course.”

The course covers key areas such as team and customer management, business planning and innovation workshops. Its structure allows employees to remain focused on their jobs, while having the flexibility to study at a time that best suits them.

Students study online through Anglia Ruskin’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and on tailored workshops at the Chelmsford campus.

“This initiative with Tamdown and TriConnex is a great example of university-business collaboration,”

says Jon Bouffler, Director of Learning Development Services at Anglia Ruskin.

“We are experienced in developing and delivering courses for people in the workplace and we bring expertise in business education from all sectors. Tamdown and TriConnex are both very successful companies and clearly have a lot of specialist knowledge from their own fields. By working together we will combine our specialisms to create a unique university course that addresses real business needs.”

To find out more about how Anglia Ruskin University partners with companies to deliver practical, work-based learning, just visit 
or call 01245 686 707.