From education to employment

New East Midlands Partnership Lays Foundations For New Army of Bricklayers

A new partnership has been cemented to boost construction apprenticeships in the East Midlands.

Access Training, a top performing training provider, and Derby-based building firm, Hodgkinson Builders , are expanding the Access Training Construction Academy to support a new generation of bricklayers in Derby.

The academy will offer a range of construction apprenticeships – with a special focus on bricklaying – when it opens the doors to a new brick workshop on 26 April 2019. It has been co-sponsored by local builders’ merchant Buildbase.

Ian Hodgkinson, Director at Pride Park-based Hodgkinson Builders, sought to work with Access Training after the demise of  the Derby based, National Construction Academy (NCA).

Ian, a strong advocate of bricklaying apprenticeships and supporting new talent, said: “We are very excited because we can continue to offer opportunities and grow the construction workers of the future.”

Access Training has pledged to create 10 new apprenticeship vacancies in 10 days on the lead up to the opening, with Hodgkinson Builders pledging two brand new apprenticeship positions ahead of the campaign to give it a flying start.

Corrina Hembury, Managing Director of Access Training, said: “We are delighted to have forged this new partnership so together we can provide these exciting new bricklaying apprenticeships in Derby. 

“We are really passionate about the construction sector and our new collaboration with Ian and Buildbase is a really positive move to allow us to expand.”

Access Training has been offering training and apprenticeships throughout the Midlands for more than 30 years and is co-owned by two housing associations.

But its renewed focus on construction will offer skills in the bricklaying industry which are so desperately needed at a time when there is a chronic shortage of homes in the UK.

Ian hopes the Access Training Construction Academy will support his own ongoing passion for apprenticeships and fresh talent – with former NCA apprentice Nicholas Green among the new starters.

Nicholas was left with nothing following the closure of NCA. He said: “When NCA closed, I didn’t know what was next for me and I didn’t know who to turn to or what direction to go in.

 “I felt relieved to have been supported by Access Training and following their help and the opening of the new academy, I have secured an apprenticeship with Hodgkinson Builders, which is a great company and I will be hoping to set up a future career with them to become a successful bricklayer. 

“I would like to thank Access Training, which is a welcoming and friendly environment. They explain what they want to do for you, and they are people who you can rely on. I would also like to thank Ian for believing in me and keeping these opportunities available for others.”

Buildbase will be providing tools and equipment to the centre in support of developing young people and welcoming new talent into the construction sector.

Mick Mattison, Regional Sales Director at Buildbase said: “This apprenticeship is great news for the local area and we’re proud to support it. It’s important to encourage the next generation that careers in building can be stimulating and rewarding. By supplying materials to the programme, the apprentices will get the valuable hands-on experience they need to get their careers off to a flying start.”

The Access Training Construction Academy will be hosting an event on Friday, April 26, on London Road, Derby to celebrate its expansion.

Lindsey Williams, Futures Housing Group’s Chief Executive, said: “As co-owner of Access Training, the expansion of the Construction Academy is welcome news.

“We’re always looking for like-minded partners to help deliver quality homes in the East Midlands because the simple fact is the region needs 25,000 more homes in the next five years.

“We’re also a great believer in growing our own talent so it is wonderful to see a programme which will help give such amazing opportunities for people to get into the construction industry.”

Paul Moat, Nottingham Community Housing Association Chief Executive said: “We’re really proud to be part of Access Training and this initiative. As a developing housing provider, the skills shortage in the construction industry is a real concern for us, and we’re pleased that academy will go some way to start addressing it.

“Apprenticeships are a great way for organisations to get enthusiastic, ready to learn individuals into the workplace, and we’re looking forward to seeing some great outcomes over the coming years.”

The official opening of the Access Training Construction Academy will take place on Friday, April 26, from 1pm to 4pm.

The event will include bricklaying demonstrations, along with building and construction networking, with a chance to meet the apprentices over a glass of fizz.

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