Network F Supporting the adaptability of firms and employees to structural economic changes and the use of information technology and other new technologies.
Project name Let’s Build it Together
Project number F0642

Project description

The key objective of the Development Partnership is to increase competitiveness of construction and building services companies from the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodship, a region of high unemployment. The local construction sector is highly dependent on the volume of capital investment, which is relatively low in the region. Moreover, the sector of construction and building services is ill prepared for structural changes that have occurred in the economy over the past years. Due to poor skills of workers, local contractors are often unable to enter into contracts for projects requiring advanced materials and the latest technologies. Innovative management processes intended to boost productivity are not used in practice. There are no effective human resource development systems in the companies and employers tend to neglect staff training, which is associated with high costs, while small and medium enterprises focus on current contracts and survival in the business. Prohibitive costs of training and computer software supporting designs or cost estimates represent a significant growth barrier. Business owners are unable to acquire and implement new technological processes. There are more serious obstacles for the growth of the building sector and access of specific groups to particular jobs in the industry. Women are vastly underrepresented in building construction sector at all levels: as workers, line or senior managers. The jobless from small localities and former state-owned farms face huge problems with finding a job in the construction business, due to unfamiliarity with novel technologies. The difficulties faced by the sector are further aggravated by seasonal and unstable nature of construction jobs. In some seasons (especially in the spring and summer) employers need additional workers, but they tend to seek specialists with significant previous job experience. Young graduates from vocational schools providing instruction in building trades, who might potentially fill staffing gaps, have poor knowledge of the latest solutions applied in construction business and often fail to meet contractors' expectations. A coherent system for certification of construction skills, recruitment of tradesmen and analysis of employment needs is still to be developed. Young people and construction school graduates perceive the sector as an unattractive employer.

Considering these obstacles, the Development Partnership proposed to provide support to contractors, involving implementation of modern construction processes and solutions, application of environment-friendly technologies, introduction of novel training methods and staff rotation systems. Final beneficiaries of the Project are employers - members of trade associations from the Warmia and Mazury region (90 small and medium enterprises) - who will benefit from training programmes in the application of new technologies.

Enterprises will be provided with information and advisory assistance. In addition, support will be extended to 462 construction workers (including 130 individuals in danger of redundancy), who will have an opportunity to take advantage of various skill improvement courses in the latest IT solutions or training plan development. The employees will be trained using a variety of approaches, including e-learning and rotation of workers. Better education and certified vocational skills will enhance beneficiaries' chances for keeping their existing positions or finding a new job.

In addition, training will be provided to a group of 100-150 unemployed persons, who will attend vocational or foreign language courses. Some of them will undertake placements in France and thereafter they will have an opportunity to work for the local French companies under workers rotation arrangements. Certificates attesting to vocational skills held will be awarded to the trainees. The Project will target its activities at a group of 20 women from unemployed families, who will have an opportunity to improve their skills and chances on the open labour market. The last group of beneficiaries are 12 trained construction trainers who will be able to modify and modernise available training programmes so that they are better prepared for helping employees to meet labour market requirements and face the challenges of the ever changing economy.

As a result of the Project, the role of self-regulatory organisations of the construction sector will be strengthened by the development and introduction of the Polish sectoral training fund, training events, study tours and certification of vocational skills.

The Centre of Design and Cost Estimate Software will be established to provide free access to the latest information and communication technologies intended for the construction industry. The Centre will train staff of small and medium construction and building services enterprises in the use of computer software and implementation of innovative environment-friendly systems. In addition, database of skilled unemployed workers will be established so that employers will be able to find potential employees. All the outcomes - in the area of innovation, staff training and application of the latest environment-friendly processes - will be disseminated to ensure that modern methods of management, efficient cooperation of companies, staff training system and the latest IT tools are extensively applied across the Polish construction sector.