NEW SHERFORD TRAINING CENTRE SET TO ADDRESS SOUTH WEST CONSTRUCTION SKILLS CHALLENGE
A revolutionary new training centre is being constructed at Sherford, as part of a long-term commitment to reducing the region’s skills challenge. Set to be completed by the end of 2017, the training centre will engage military veterans, apprentices, local contractors, as well as those currently working at Sherford, boosting manual skills by providing training and experience across a number of major construction trades.
Marking a major commitment into boosting the local construction industry, an investment of over £370,000 has been made into the delivery of the new training facility, which will be based at Sherford for at least three years.
The development of the training centre is being funded by the Sherford Consortium, the network of national homebuilders responsible for the new community, Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Taylor Wimpey. Following a competitive bid process led by the Consortium and key delivery partners, City College Plymouth, South Devon College and Plymouth Construction Training Group, the training centre has also been awarded funding from The Construction Industry Trading Board (CITB), set to be distributed over three years.
As part of the Sherford Skills Training Scheme, the training centre will engage a variety of users, including individuals and sub-contractors already working at Sherford. It will also be used by those looking to retrain or learn new skills, with 60% of this group expected to be former members of the Armed Forces, providing training and practical experience to help them develop professionally.
The training centre will include two classrooms, a workshop and an outdoor training area. By identifying gaps in the local trades market and following analysis of the skills most required at Sherford, the centre will focus on providing training across five key areas, these include; bricklaying, traditional roofing, specialist carpentry, drylining and sealants.
There will also be opportunities to provide further training across other areas of construction in the future, including site management and health and safety. As one of the largest community development projects in the country, it is hoped the centre will not only tackle the skills challenge in the existing workforce at Sherford, but also significantly support the region’s economic growth and employment landscape.
Those using the training centre will be supported by expert onsite teams, teaching staff, as well as a dedicated training coordinator* based at the facility.
Steven Ricketts, Sherford Skills Training Scheme Co-ordinator said: “As one of the most innovative community developments in the country, Sherford is the perfect location for the training centre, offering opportunities to train across almost every area of construction. We have worked with the Sherford Consortium to identify the skills most needed in the region and along with the support from the CITB, it is fantastic that the centre is soon to be a welcome reality.”
Ian Pugsley, Taylor Wimpey, member of the Sherford Consortium and lead house builder for the training centre, said: “Local people are playing a significant role in the construction of Sherford and we are committed to providing skills and training which will have a positive impact in the South West. We have been working with a number of organisations, including City College Plymouth and Sherford contractors, to address the skills gap locally, with our shared objective being to provide a training centre which meets these immediate needs.
“It will not only benefit those working at Sherford and apprentices, but also veterans - many of which already work at Sherford - and our partners have already been in contact with armed forces charities to inform them of the training opportunities available at Sherford. The new community is unique in terms of its style, and skilled workers are essential to deliver the high-quality homes required.”
Cllr Michael Hicks, South Hams District Council’s lead member for Sherford said: “You cannot underestimate how important the training centre will be to Sherford and the legacy that it will leave behind.
“We are not just building houses. We are building a robust foundation in our young people. This will ensure that we have the skills locally for future developments. I believe onsite training in a purpose-built centre will be crucial to providing the trainees with everything they need to grow and flourish.”
Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “Creating quality jobs and valuable skills is one of the key themes in our city vision. We are growing as a city and need to do all we can to ensure that local people can benefit from this. A centre like this not only equips the next generation of workers with the skills they need, it is also opens new avenues of learning for our Armed Forces veterans.
“It’s a brilliant idea and it’s great to see businesses as well as education establishments come together to make this happen.”