The Construction Wales Innovation Centre’s new Scaffolding Academy on Swansea’s Fabian Way has become the temporary home of staff facilities to support a field hospital as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Work to transform two key sites in the Swansea Bay area into field hospitals to create 1,340 temporary beds is nearing completion. The public, health and private sector, along with further and higher education, have worked closely together in an unprecedented response aimed at safeguarding the health and wellbeing of people living in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
Barry Liles, OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Skills & Lifelong Learning) & Head of the University’s Wales Institute of Science and Art said: “Our investment in the site enabled the local authority to have an accelerated start to the reconfiguration project and we are pleased to have been able to play our part in support of the NHS at this critical time. We look forward to the time when the site will not be required as a hospital and we can return the facility to its intended use in support of the construction industry in Wales.”
Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: “We were asked to build a hospital to help fight coronavirus and, working with a range of partners, we’re doing that swiftly and efficiently.
“The Bay Field Hospital on Fabian Way will soon have room for around 1,000 health service beds. Just five weeks after starting work we handed over around half the space to the NHS.
“I thank all involved, including UWTSD, staff from the council, contractors, health board and Welsh Government and Roy Thomas who own the site. I also thank Neath Port Talbot Council as this facility is just over our border on their patch. This is partnership working at its very best.”
Led by UWTSD’s Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) in partnership with Alpha Safety Training and Construction Industry Training Board Wales (CITB), the new Scaffolding Academy, together with a satellite facility in Cardiff will enable a range of courses to be delivered locally to meet the needs of the construction industry – and will also mean that students based in Wales and wishing to gain extensive scaffolding training will no longer have to travel to England or beyond to access the full range of training opportunities.
Discussions are now underway to find a temporary replacement base for the Academy in Swansea, but its current location in Cardiff for certain aspects of scaffolding training remains unchanged.
The Access Hall will be the only Construction Industry Scaffolding Record Scheme (CISRS) approved facility in South Wales delivering the full range of working at height training to new entrants, apprentices, up-skillers, supervisors and inspectors.
In addition, CWIC is seeking to work with National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) members to provide further guidance and direction in meeting the training and development needs of the scaffolding industry in Wales.
The addition to the scaffolding training centre, to the Construction Wales Innovation Centre offer will allow CWIC to build upon the delivery of their immensely successful training courses and programmes which have spanned the past 3 years.
This period has seen the delivery of nearly 408 activities across Wales, supporting 691 Welsh employers and upskilling over 3,500 construction industry staff. CWIC will build on this initial programme by continuing to support the construction industry through the provision of innovative and industry leading courses led from its Swansea based Hub, and delivered across Wales through its extensive spoke and partner network.