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Skills check for EU workers

The influx of workers to the UK from eastern European countries is expected to increase from this month when Bulgaria and Romania join the EU. But the Pathways to Skills Transfer scheme will also clarify the qualifications of workers from every EU member nation.

Pathways to Skills Transfer aims to enable construction employers to take on individuals from EU countries without concerns about the status of their qualifications. It also aims to help UK construction workers to transfer their construction qualifications to other EU states.

The Chamber is managing the two-year project in Bedfordshire. Partners from the UK, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Belgium, Denmark and France have come together to research construction qualifications across the EU, in order to identify common training processes. Their aim is to improve both the transfer of qualifications and the mobility of labour across the EU.

The partners met at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton for the inaugural meeting of the project where, following a welcome from Luton deputy mayor Michael Dolling, they discussed how the project would be planned, delivered and recorded.

Chamber project manager Richard Collyer said that, with 50,000 houses expected to be built in the county over the next decade and worrying skills gaps in the construction sector, there was an urgent need for qualified construction personnel.

He added: “Pathways to Skills Transfer will help employers and consumers to be sure that their electrician, for instance, is competent regardless of where he or she comes from in the European Union. Mobility of labour across the EU is one of the European Union’s major goals. We hope that Pathways to Skills Transfer will help make this a reality in the construction sector.”

The €460,000 project has been funded by the EU’s Leonardo Da Vinci fund.