Vocational Skills Creation

Most countries recognise the huge negative economic and social consequences of the skills gap. Not only do emerging markets have gaps in basic skills at craft, technician, supervisory and middle and senior management, but the speed of change in the labour market and competition from other countries is increasing the size of these gaps in key industries crucial to development such as construction, manufacturing, financial services and IT. How best to address these skills gaps is one of the priorities of CBS.

Given the crucial importance of infrastructure to economic and social development, policy-makers should focus on the craft, technical and managerial skills needed to close the skills gap and to build and maintain the infrastructure.

The crisis in technical skills has been with us for decades without a solution

The Commonwealth Business School through their collaborative agreements with City and Guilds and UK universities has a unique approach to closing the skills gap based on its action learning methodology. CBS has successfully completed 66 customised, action learning, development programmes all over the world over the past 25 years. Most of these have led to diploma and masters qualifications conducted at all levels in all types of infrastructure-based organisations. They were all part-time, lasting between 1 year (diploma) and 2 years (masters) and tailored to the precise needs of their client organisations. For example;


  • Post-experience Diplomas in Construction Process Management conducted on projects run by major UK contractors and engineering consultants such as Costain, Gleeson, Wates and Mace. The focus was on developing project and people management skills.
  • Post-experience Diplomas in the management of ports, power generation and distribution, water and sanitation, telecoms, oil and gas and construction. Again the focus was on effective management of projects and development of technical and management skills.
  • Part-time, action learning based Masters programmes in the management of hotels, electricity, chemicals and telecoms.
  • First and Second Line Manager Development. Many companies have struggled unsuccessfully for years to create a cadre of committed and competent first and second-line managers. Practical, part-time, on-site, competency based, rigorously assessed, action learning programmes are the answer in training technicians, supervisors, project managers and planners in programmes accredited by City and Guilds, London and the Institute of Leadership and Management.




Our success in delivering programmes for UK construction companies led the Construction Industry Training Board to commission CBS to produce a 150-page report on management and technical development at all levels from level 2 (supervisor and technician) through to level 7 (masters level).

We have recently developed our action learning, in-company programmes for use on specific infrastructure projects in emerging markets. This involves putting an action learning envelope around every stage of each project aimed at implementing cost, quality and delivery excellence throughout every occupational level. This has involved designing IN-PROJECT accredited programmes for all skill levels from craft to project directors delivered through training academies established on every project.

These in-project, training academies will be managed by vocational education specialists with worldwide experience. They will be directed by CBS faculty who have been HR Directors of major companies with operational responsibilities for vocational education.