Opportunity knocks for a new generation of trainee building inspectors

•    30 new places after 2,000 apply to join LABC’s trainee academy
•    The response has just been amazing, says chief executive, Lorna Stimpson

A training scheme for building inspectors, which has attracted nearly 2,000 applicants so far, is launching its fourth recruitment drive.

There are 30 places available in the latest cohort of LABC’s (Local Authority Building Control) Academy, with trainees starting work in local authorities across England from June 2024.

It follows the success of LABC’s three earlier recruitment drives which saw each round oversubscribed after the decision to permanently fund a training academy.

“In the first two recruitment rounds we had more than a thousand applicants in total, and the third round alone saw nearly 800 people wanting to join our profession,” 

said LABC chief executive, Lorna Stimpson.

“We’re seeking new recruits who are technically minded, like problem solving, are keen to learn and looking for a rewarding career in public service. The trainees currently going through the programme all say they appreciate the combination of learning on the job while studying and getting paid. Working alongside experienced building control professionals who can show them the ropes on site is particularly popular.”

zaida zekaj labc trainee

To date, 124 trainee building control surveyors have been recruited through the LABC Academy. One of those trainees is 23-year-old Zaida Zekaj who is currently seconded to Southwark Council.

After completing an architecture degree at the University of Westminster, Zaida worked as a kitchen designer before joining the training scheme and has never looked back.

“It’s a rewarding feeling to know that my role contributes to creating safe spaces for people to live and work in,” she said. “It's been a very hands-on experience that has allowed me to develop a range of skills. The support of my mentor and the LABC Academy has been a huge part of my development.”  

Throughout the two-year programme, funded jointly by LABC and Government, trainees will gain a Level 4 and Level 5 diploma in building control surveying, meaning that they will be well on the way to becoming a fully qualified chartered surveyor or building engineer.

Starting salaries for 18-year-old college leavers entering the Academy range from £19,500 to £23,500 a year, depending on location. More experienced career changers start on higher salaries, and trainees are provided with all their PPE (personal protective equipment), IT equipment and software, and student membership of the CIOB, CABE and RICS.

Last month, the LABC Academy and training programme was recognised at the LPI Learning Awards. It won a bronze award in the People Development Programme of the Year in the public sector/not for profit category. With submissions from 56 countries, the 2024 awards were presented by TV personality Claudia Winkleman at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London on 22 February.

The judges commented:

“The programme was clear about the challenge they were looking to overcome and set out a detailed approach in how to respond to a wide range of challenges. This included a robust induction and training programme as well as wider mentoring and quality assurance. This initiative has already reached high numbers of people and looks set to grow in the months ahead.”

Those considering a career in building control are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to get a space in the next round of assessment centres which are taking place on 10 and 11 April in Birmingham.

For more information on the LABC Academy or to apply, visit: www.labc.co.uk/labc-academy