Leading housebuilder Linden Homes will be teaching trade skills to the next generation by launching its own National Apprenticeship centre in Bristol – with the target of finding 100 trainees in its first 100 days of operation.
The £500,000 Linden Homes Apprenticeship Academy, which is being set up in partnership with PSC Training and Development Ltd, is due to be up and running in September as part of the company’s answer to the skills gap many businesses are reporting in the UK.
It is among the first major housebuilding firms to take such a step and the target is ultimately to equip thousands of people with the knowledge to find jobs and help tackle the UK’s housing shortage.
The project will primarily target 16 to 18-year-olds and aims to recruit 500 over the next two-three years.
The Academy is the initiative of Ian Baker, Linden Homes Group Managing Director, which recently won the title of Housebuilder of the Year. He himself rose through the ranks after starting out as a YTS trainee.
He said: “It is crucial for the healthy future of the UK’s building industry, and to create much-needed homes for families, that we nurture and protect our trade skills with full and dedicated investment, and answer the challenge of an ageing workforce.
“Without it, we face a worsening skills gap that is already causing concern among businesses up and down the country, threatening the recovery of the UK’s economy that we all urgently want to see.
“At Linden Homes we know we can’t sit back and expect the situation to solve itself, so that is why we are taking the lead, putting in time and money, and forging partnerships to start to turn this situation around.
“We have set ambitious targets of hundreds of new apprentices in just the first few years, and I hope the people who will be equipped with these skills vital for our industry and economy will ultimately number in the thousands, and eventually become the foremen, managers and directors in years to come.”
The centre in Bristol is planned to be a learning hub teaching practical and theory lessons in its workshops and classrooms. Apprentices will go through between six and 10 weeks of residential training per specialism in a year.
Courses will last 18 months on average and with about 140 trainees hoped for each year. The whole scheme will cost £500,000 in the first year to set up and run.
Already Linden Homes has trialled the set-up for almost two years in the south-west and through subcontractors has successfully recruited 93 apprentices.
The company is partnered by Devon-based PSC Training and Development Ltd which administers the scheme to help employers with paperwork and secure grants, which can deter some from taking people on. PSC is a leading apprenticeship provider and was graded by Ofsted as “outstanding”.
Apprenticeships will include bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, painting and decorating, floorlaying, general maintenance, wall and floor tiling, and interior systems.
Mike Blakeley, PSC Training and Development Ltd's director of the Linden Homes Apprenticeship Programme, said: "Linden Homes’ commitment to a national programme is a timely boost to meet the government's agenda on apprenticeships, skills and training.
“The demand for good quality apprenticeships has never been higher due to the record number of young people that find themselves unemployed or with limited career options.
“An apprenticeship in construction is the foundation for a rewarding and worthwhile career, and the Linden Homes Apprenticeship Programme enhances these young people's prospects by offering outstanding training, supportive employment and clearly mapped career pathways to enable them to progress.
With the facilitation of nearly 100 apprenticeships in the south-west, the scope of this national project will have a significant impact on the fulfilment of Linden Homes' commitment to supporting the next generation of apprentices across the country."
For further information, contact Lyndsay Scanlan or Naomi Wellman at Remarkable Public Relations on 01962 893 893.
23 May 2012
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