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English Language Training for Immigrant Workers


Immigrants working in Britain's booming building industry need English training to boost site safety and productivity, surveyors have warned.

The Construction Industry Training Board predicts that the UK construction industry will need an extra 83,000 workers annually.

However, a decline in British trade apprenticeships has left the UK unable to service the demand for skilled labour from its own population and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said that many of the 83,000 would come from outside the UK.

Joe Martin of RICS Building Cost Information Service, said: "Workmen from abroad are often highly skilled and represent value for money, and many projects could not be completed without them. But there are reports of mistakes being made due to language barriers."

According to RICS around 60 people die every year on building sites in the UK.

The institute believes that a better understanding of English would reduce site deaths and boost productivity.

A number of firms within the £60bn industry, including St George and Carillion, have begun piloting TEFL courses for immigrant workers in partnership with colleges.

Longer term, RICS said that finding a solution to the skills shortage would be would be a daunting task that would involve restructuring the education system to channel young people into skilled trades and a revolution in the "muddy boots" image of the industry.

CITB projected requirement 2003-07 for tradesmen is highest for:
* Wood Trades: 59,550
* Bricklayers: 29,400
* Painters: 23,400
* Roofers: 11,900


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