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JCT marks 80 years with new education mission

The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) is celebrating its 80th anniversary year with a new focus on training and education.
JCT will highlight the importance of training and education in the construction and property sectors, from April, with the launch of a range of initiatives aimed at improving understanding of the industry, and in particular procurement and construction contracts.

Professor Peter Hibberd, JCT chairman and education and training 'champion' for the year, explained: 'This is not just about skills, it is also about understanding the industry, about educating both those within the industry, and those entering it.

'Many of the industry's problems could be addressed through better education and training. For example, a lack of understanding and poor communication cause many problems on site - if trades and subcontractors had a better understanding of contractual objectives, contract provisions and the impact of their actions, many of the problems and disputes which escalate up the supply chain could be avoided.'

Tony Bingham, leading construction barrister and arbitrator, said: 'Encouraging better understanding of contracts down the supply chain is commendable. Many disputes arise from trade level, and a better understanding, especially of the consequences of actions, could help reduce the number of problems and disputes on projects, which cumulatively, could help make the industry more efficient.'

The range of initiatives JCT will be launching during the anniversary year will include:

• Closer liaison with universities and colleges providing construction-related training and education courses, looking at modules and stand-alone courses to teach procurement and contracts to students.
• Development of a comprehensive teaching package for lecturers and trainers, together with a special training providers group, a students' group, contract helpline, expert speakers list and access to copies of all existing JCT contracts.
• A competition for students with the chance to win several bursaries towards the costs of courses.
• A series of educational seminars, events and workshops across the country.
JCT say that those operating in the industry, and students looking at careers in its various sectors, need to have a working understanding of JCT contracts.

Professor Hibberd continued: 'This initiative is just the beginning: over the coming years, JCT will help lead the industry in promoting training and education, itself focusing upon procurement and contracts.

'This will have a positive impact in changing the culture that has been prevalent in parts of the industry for many years, improving efficiency of the process through greater understanding, and helping to improve the quality of construction projects across the width of the industry. This alone will save huge amounts of time and money that could be better used.'
15 April 2011

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