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Leading an NSAfC project

If you are leading or co-ordinating employment, training or skills development on a National Skills Academy for Construction (NSAfC) project – or want to use the NSAfC way of working on an unaccredited project – this page will tell you about your role and how to get started.

Your role

The training and skills development side of most NSAfC projects is usually led by one of the following:

  • Project skills co-ordinator (PSC)
  • Community benefits officer(CBO) or community development adviser (CDA)
  • Client co-ordinator (CC).

There’s considerable overlap between the roles, and in some cases the difference between them is one of emphasis or name only. Furthermore, your role may change from project to project, depending on their individual requirements.

A PSC is employed by the main contractor and is essential to a successful project. The PSC usually:

  • Champions and takes responsibility for day-to-day running of the NSAfC elements of a project
  • Delivers and develops the employment and skills plan (ESP) and attains the key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Co-ordinates work placements and training in response to project needs
  • Assists with recruitment and management of apprentices
  • Organises career events and promotes industry
  • Promotes social value activities and seeks to create innovative learning and training opportunities
  • Develops and maintains relationships between contractors in the supply chain, training organisations and other stakeholders
  • Encourages colleagues and supply chain members to buy into NSAfC, become engaged and fulfil their commitments
  • Identifies and promotes local community initiatives, fundraising and volunteering opportunities
  • Monitors KPIs, collects evidence and reports on outcomes
  • Helps with awards submissions, shares best practice and compiles case studies.

Download an example job description for an NSAfC project leader or co-ordinator.

A CBO or CDA is employed by the main contractor. In addition to undertaking PSC roles, this officer often:

  • Researches and understands national and local government priorities on community development, such as:
  • Reducing youth unemployment
  • Improving links between education and industry
  • Inspire and provide learning opportunities in deprived areas
  • Delivers KPIs, particularly in support of these community priorities
  • Establishes working partnerships with community groups and service providers to offer life-changing learning experiences
  • Supports compliance with Considerate Constructor Scheme
  • Champions young talent.

Download an example job description for community development advisers.

CCs are employed by clients (usually public sector bodies procuring infrastructure projects) and usually take on the role in addition to their existing position, often as part of an economic development team. In addition to some PSC roles, a CC often:

  • Liaises with colleagues to ensure that the NSAfC KPIs are included in relevant planning documentation and contract awards 
  • Works with the main contractor to develop and deliver the ESP
  • Identifies local stakeholders who can assist with the delivery of the KPIs.

The starting point for a co-ordinating role is to familiarise yourself with the project structure and personnel, and find people on site who are sympathetic to your goals. They will be invaluable in persuading supply chain members about the NSAfC’s value.

The success of your project depends on you establishing and maintaining good working relationships with key site staff, community organisations and other important stakeholders. Look for local connections and research organisations likely to be useful. Identify the project’s network of stakeholders and subcontractors and make appropriate links.

When you have developed the right network of people to support your work, it will be easier to think about apprenticeshipswork placements and career events and provide the right training through the supply chain.

You also need to understand the NSAfC way of working, and know your ESP so that you can prioritise targets and develop a plan of action. Ask for help – others have done this before and exceeded their goals. Use their experiences, innovations and best practice to inspire you. Find out more in our Case studies area.

A good understanding of the nature of the industry and the diversity of construction roles will help you communicate the exciting career and upskilling opportunities that you have. You role includes promoting construction as a career option to new talent, and they need to know there’s far more on offer than the traditional trades, but professional, legal, managerial and highly technical roles too. The Go Construct website is fantastic resource for information about construction careers and job roles.

For more tips on getting started, see our Suggested induction checklist for project co-ordinators.

Following the NSAfC aim to improve skills throughout the construction workforce, you should look to undertake further training for your own self-development. This could include in-house training and e-learning, with minimal disruption to your work.

Suggested training ideas

Here is a guide selection of suggested topic areas and training courses, among many others, that could be beneficial to your role:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • STEM Ambassadors
  • Construction Ambassador 
  • Safeguarding Level 3 
  • Presentation skills
  • Equality and diversity 
  • Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) courses
  • Human Resources (HR)
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) courses
  • Mental health first aid 
  • Unconscious bias
  • Empathy training
  • Time management 
  • Managing difficult people 
  • Project management (such as PRINCE2 or APM) 
  • Data protection and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Negotiating and influencing 
  • Networking skills 
  • Social media
  • Health and safety 
  • Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)  
  • Site Supervisors’ Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) 
  • Train the Trainer.