The construction industry has enormous potential for creating jobs in both developed and developing countries. Globally, the industry accounts for 7.6 per cent of total employment, which is equivalent to approximately 230 million jobs.This job-intense industry consists mainly of small firms (SMEs), which often face challenges in compiling documents and bidding for tenders, accessing bank credits, and efficiently managing labour, materials, equipment and finance. Clients of infrastructure investment projects, on the other hand, (which are often government entities) also face difficulties in assessing the capacity of SMEs and contracting works, as well as in monitoring the implementation and evaluating the overall quality of the works delivered. This course provides an interactive e-learning opportunity to understand the environment in which SMEs in the construction sector operate and explores how to engage them using transparent and efficient procurement procedures that also create an enabling environment for SME development. By undertaking a review of different approaches, case studies and tools, participants will learn how to engage SMEs to undertake infrastructure works that create more and better jobs, while ensuring the quality of the assets to be constructed. This third edition of the course will focus on procurement and contracting procedures, and will include a community contracting tool.
The course is intended for professionals involved in designing, procuring and implementing infrastructure works. The course specifically targets:
The course covers the following four topics:
Learning Block 1 will provide a general overview of the context in which SMEs operate, as well as the employment-intensive approach to infrastructure works and its advantages and challenges for implementation.
In order to implement employment-intensive infrastructure works, it is critically important to clearly define the scope of works to be performed by SMEs, taking into consideration their characteristics, capacities, and the policy environment. Thus clearly defined scope of works will then be integrated into bidding procedures for open, competitive and targeted procurement procedures that create an enabling environment for SMEs to develop, while ensuring quality outputs and value for money. This learning block will review what constitutes key elements to be considered when targeting SMEs for infrastructure works.
The capacity of SMEs may be assessed with the following dimensions: human resources, equipment and tools, finance, and management skills. Human resources here pertain to technical knowledge and skills to carry out required tasks, whereas access to and maintenance of appropriate light equipment for employment-intensive works shall be balanced at an optimal level in comparison to human resource development. Equally challenging for the SMEs is usually access to necessary funds to mobilize the workforce, materials and equipment on the ground. This learning block will explore local resource based (LRB) approaches as a cost-efficient solution for the small contractors and the economy. Topics to be covered include:
A productive workforce in a safe working environment is key to quality infrastructure works. Furthermore, SMEs are becoming more and more accountable for environmental and social responsibilities. Social and environmental safeguards, guided by the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, thus play an integral role to protect the working conditions of all workers in an inclusive way, whilst protecting environment. This learning block will give an overview of key items to be considered in order to fulfil such accountability through contractual agreements between the client and SMEs.
This course is part of one Diploma programme: