Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

Channel 4 star launches building training initiative

Architect and Channel 4 TV presenter George Clarke is launching a new scheme in the North East to attract more people into the construction industry.

Clarke has founded the Ministry of Building Innovation (MOBI), a new initiative designed to inspire the next generation of builders and revolutionise the industry.

Although based in Tees Valley, the educational, research and development organisation will serve the entire country, and the enterprise will work with both the industry and government to create new homes.

Clarke said: “The slow and antiquated method of building new homes is painful and fundamentally, we still build homes the way we did hundreds of years ago.

“While technology corporations, telecommunication companies, the automotive and aerospace industry are advancing at incredible rates, the house building industry is stagnant and it’s genuinely time for systematic change.

“There is a need for exciting innovation, opportunities to push the boundaries of what we build and how we build that will attract bright new minds in to the industry.”

MOBI is now teaming up with Teesside University to offer courses in Advanced Home Construction from September – starting with a Higher National Certificate and Diploma, an undergraduate degree programme, BSc (Hons) Advanced Home Construction (top up) and a postgraduate degree course – MSc Advanced Home Futures.

Plans have also been revealed for a MOBI centre of excellence in Tees Valley later in the year.

The launch of the new scheme comes the same week that the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced plans to launch a construction skills academy in London.

The academy is part of his newly launched initiative Skills for Londoners. The academy, to be established later this year in partnership with the housebuilding industry, will aim to increase the number of skilled construction workers in London to help meet house building targets by providing more access to construction skills training and funds for new learning spaces and equipment.

Skills for Londoners is to invest £114m in learning facilities and equipment via the Skills for Londoners Capital Fund over the next four years at London’s further education colleges and other education and training providers.

The scheme will also work with businesses to create apprenticeships and colleges and other skills providers to ensure the training offered meets the needs of the capital.


Its not innovation lacking, as a professional designer & surveyor of quality homes for over 25 years, its the planning system & inflexibility that needs changing.
If the planning system was made quicker, the planners trained to accept good quality design and not just follow the house next door in design, you won't need a "Ministry for Mayhem", as great designs and innovation, can often be "canned" by the planning system.. "no brainer required", although most applications by architects/designers don't have the power of a tv crew. I have seen talented house designs binned, tradesmen jobs, binned, by the planning system.. fix that first, if you dare!

  • 11th May 2017, at 03:24 PM

I would agree that planning, from the perspective of innovation, can at times be challenging J Sandland, often due to a lack of discussion with Local Authority engagement in advance of an application and lack of understanding and skill that we have left in our LA planning departments at times. I do however think an initiative such as this will help us to provide essential skills and options to the contracting industry which enable them to respond more positively to unusual and innovative design. From my limited experience in house renovation, too often contractors push back on innovation due to a lack of knowledge and fear of cost implications, even for the simplest divergence from traditional approaches. we need to hurry up and get a workforce in place who are more able to respond to ideas and challenge standard approaches. Thanks George - another step in the right direction!

  • 18th May 2017, at 02:02 PM
  • J Montgomery

(Although based in Tees Valley, the educational, research and development organisation will serve the entire country) That includes Scotland I think

  • 22nd May 2017, at 03:45 PM
  • Sheila

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