The Centre of Excellence for Built Environment is a joint project with Basra University and is expected to train more than 5,000 students from September. The centre is being based in a refurbished building at a cost of £40,000.
Salford will train academic staff at the University of Basra to develop MScs in areas such as project management, construction management and related discipline. The centre is expected to seek CIOB accreditation for its courses.
“We have been contacted by several international companies, including Shell, BP and China National Petroleum Corporation, that are looking to rebuild and are desperate to recruit local people, but there’s no one available,” said Professor Mustafa Alshawi, director of the Research Institute for the Built & Human Environment at Salford University, who heads up the project. “They are looking for project managers with IT expertise, and people with chemistry and environmental expertise,” he added.
Salford will also help the university create research expertise tailored to the needs of the Iraqi construction sector, with a focus on multidisciplinary work with engineers, computer scientists and management researchers working together to tackle the rebuilding process.
Workshops are under way in the UK to demonstrate to project stakeholders from Basra how Salford collaborates with industry and carries out its consultancy, research and educational programmes. The workshops will continue over the summer, before the stakeholders head home to assess local business requirements and align them with the training to be carried out at the centre.
Basra Province has allocated roughly $1.5bn (£0.9bn) for rebuilding work in 2011-2012, while the Iraq Parliament has brought forward £330m of funding for smaller projects. More finance for construction work is expected in advance of the 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations football competition, said Alshawi.
n Salford University said it was planning to expand the number of construction-related courses it teaches at Colombo School of Construction Technology in Sri Lanka. In April, it launched a quantity surveying course at the school, Sri Lanka’s first foreign-run degree programme.