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First year of Herefordshire construction skills academy a success

In the first year of Herefordshire Council’s National Skills Academy for Construction the council’s construction contractors, Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) and Integral UK Ltd, have created new jobs and worked closely with local schools.

The skills academy is overseen by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and is successfully developing construction skills across Herefordshire. The CITB forecasts 200,000 new construction jobs will be created in the UK over the next 5 years, and the skills academy will help local residents and businesses to make the most of these opportunities.

BBLP has taken on six new apprentices, two graduates on placement and created 10 new jobs, as well as giving work experience to school pupils and support to local sub-contractors.

BBLP’s contract director Andy Williams said they had laid solid foundations for the work of the Academy:

“In the past people who decided to go down the vocational route didn’t have all the facilities and opportunities they needed,” he said.

“Through the Academy we are giving a sharper focus to the routes into the business to improve the ways young people are able to learn trade skills and get real work experience.

“Going forward we’re building on the success of year one and are working with more schools and job centres to support people to get work experience and getting into work.”

Milad Shafii, aged 22, is one of BBLP’s current graduates: “Working for BBLP in Herefordshire gives me an opportunity to enhance the local built environment, which is hugely satisfying.  It is wonderful to work in this beautiful county and I hope to contribute towards making improvements to the satisfaction of local residents.”

Twenty seven year old Freya Swinscoe also has a degree in Civil Engineering and enjoys the built environment: “I came to Hereford because I was lucky enough to gain a place on Balfour Beatty Living Places’ graduate programme.  I’m really enjoying my placement and find the work diverse and interesting yet challenging at times.”

Integral UK Ltd has taken on a carpentry apprentice, delivered training to Herefordshire subcontractors and provided work experience placements for school students and unemployed young people.

Mark Aldsworth, Integral UK Ltd’s Contract Manager says, “We’re very pleased that our support to the academy has benefitted Herefordshire sub-contractors by helping them to improve their leadership and supervisory skills on construction projects. The feedback from the young people and schools following our work experience placements has been incredibly encouraging and we are working to provide these for the more disadvantaged young people within the county in year 2.           

Callum Forster, Integral UK Ltd, Apprentice Carpenter said, “The first year working with Integral has been a great experience.  I have learnt many practical skills and look forward to increasing my skills and knowledge next year.

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