North East skills and employment programme wins global praise

North East skills and employment programme wins global praise

An innovative competency program designed and developed by Ryder and Gateshead College has received international recognition.

PlanBEE (Built Environment Education), launched in 2016, won the Continuing Education and Higher Education category at the 2022 Inspire Future Generation Awards.

The first program of its kind, PlanBEE, is an industry-driven higher education program designed to help attract and retain talent in the built environment and construction sector and to address the skill shortages facing the industry.

Supported by a growing consortium of over 40 companies across the UK, the pioneering program combines study with work for some of the construction industry’s leading companies including Ryder, Sir Robert McAlpine, Bowmer & Kirkland, Cundall, Gleeds and NBS. Trainees rotate among these employers and learn about a variety of roles and disciplines within the industry, including architecture, structural engineering and building services engineering, as well as management and project and cost management.

The program was an overwhelming success, delivering over 300 industry internships, with 98% of trainees going on to permanent employment. Building on the success of the program in the North East, PlanBEE Manchester was launched in 2020 and there are further plans to roll out the program to other regions of the country.

Peter Barker, Partner at Ryder, said: “It is wonderful news to receive further recognition of our success through this award. PlanBEE is a great example of the benefits of close collaboration between industry and education to nurture a growing diversity of exceptional talent leading to exciting careers in our industry.”

David Alexander, Principal at Gateshead College said: “It is fantastic to win such a prestigious award and it underscores the positive impact PlanBEE is having on the lives of learners and also on the future of the industry.

“PlanBEE enables talented people to enter an innovative, exciting industry and supports employers in finding the skills they need now and in the future. It has transformed the way the industry finds talent and has created lasting change and real impact on the people of the region.

“We are very proud of our PlanBEE trainees and graduates as well as the teachers who work closely with all PlanBEE employers to make it the success it is.

Launched in September 2021, the Inspire Future Generations Awards recognize organizations and initiatives worldwide that work with young people and help them engage in activities that promote a better built environment.

For more information on PlanBEE, including how to apply for September 2023, visit

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