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PSR Solutions Ltd

Finding new talent pools for Construction skills shortages

Since 2005, PSR Solutions Ltd has been a leading provider of permanent and contract personnel in the construction and built environment industries.

Located across seven UK sites, the PSR Group work with regional contractors and multi-national clients to provide individuals with technical and managerial roles across a range of construction specialisms.

In 2019, the Group expanded its offer with a social value business unit - PSR Build a Career - which engages with social-mobility initiatives across the UK. The team helps to fill ever-growing skills gaps and support those on the fringes of society - from care leavers and homeless candidates to ex-forces and displaced talent - to get sustained local employment.

Based at the PSR site in the West Midlands, PSR Group Social Value Director Abdul Mozzamdar says the team has explored many tactics that target social mobility and hard-to-reach candidates:

“We engaged with the West Midland Combined Authority (WMCA) Construction Gateway scheme as we noticed we were struggling to recruit in certain specialist fields. It made sense to tap into new avenues of talent through the Gateway and get them out into work. We have a close relationship with WMCA, so we are always happy to explore projects together.”

Exploring alternative construction recruitment routes

The Construction Gateway provides formal, job entry construction training through classroom provision and practical onsite experience with Tier 1 employers and their supply chain. Individuals gain qualifications that are essential to work on any site, such as the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, and more in-depth training.

Courses can include the City and Guilds accredited Level 2 NVQ in rail engineering track maintenance, CPCS or NPORS Plant operator tickets and construction craft skills such as plastering or dry lining.  Recently, programmes around green technologies have also proved popular based on the increasing number of job roles in this field. Adbul continued:

“Construction is crucial to PSR, but we don’t currently have the skills to deliver the training in-house. So, it made sense to outsource this to a third party. WMCA helped to link PSR with local training providers, including Dudley and Wolverhampton Colleges. There are niche construction and rail skills shortages which these specific providers could help with by offering a railway pathway as well as construction skills.

“Under other circumstances, we might consider Apprentices to fill skills gaps, but demand from the industry is often very immediate. The benefit of this training is that it offers individuals with skills who can hit the ground running.”

To date, 12 individuals from two Dudley College Gateway cohorts have been interviewed by Karl Johnson, PSR Senior Social Value Executive. Karl said:

“The calibre of all the candidates has been high. Every individual has now been added to our system, ready for vacancies as they become available. Given the diversity of job roles in the construction industry, we can match up specialisms whenever there is availability.”

PSR has also taken advantage of Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) across many of its sites, including those delivered by Wolverhampton College. Karl continued:

“These employer-led SWAPs have always been very good. The skills on offer are very varied such as plant skills and other unique trades. We placed several candidates through SWAPs and Gateways with Wolverhampton College - we can’t fault them! The calibre of people coming through is excellent, and we’ve had some great case studies of individuals who have retrained for the construction industry after the Covid pandemic.”

Top tip from PSR Solutions Ltd

Feedback from PSR is that SWAPs and Gateway schemes are a great alternative to traditional recruitment methods, especially when looking to widen reach and attract new talent pools. PSR found that to get the best outcomes, they need to be involved from inception.

By working closely with training providers, PSR can ensure that needs are met and that processes are joined up. From explaining touchpoints and having input on training to getting to know the candidates on courses first-hand, the more PSR are involved, the more likelihood there is of producing candidates with in-demand skills.

When this is made possible, PSR can then offer interviews with their sector-specific consultants who aim to connect those candidates with long-term employment opportunities in the region. In the future, it is hoped training will target site engineering shortages and construction site specialists to produce candidates with the broad knowledge required by the industry.

To find out more about how the Construction Gateway Scheme or Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) could benefit your organisation, contact: