In line with this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, Northstone has announced it will introduce apprentices on site in 2020, starting with its first development in Westhoughton.
Committed to contributing to those communities in which it creates, Northstone will support people to gain the right skills and training to enter the construction sector. To demonstrate this pledge, Northstone has applied to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to receive National Skills Academy for Construction status (NSAfC), an industry-led framework supporting clients and contractors to identify, develop and realise employment and skills solutions across construction projects.
The homebuilder and its sub-contractors will also support a number of apprentices on Northstone sites this year.
Northstone’s Construction Director, Kevin Morris who started out as an apprentice joiner himself said: “In order to achieve the status, we must deliver a number of outcomes measured by the NSAfC on our developments across the North West. Each site will have its own employment and skills plan and we are working alongside Calico Enterprise, who run the North West Shared Apprenticeship Service as well as their own NSAfC programme, to ensure Northstone’s supply chain is involved in supporting apprentice placements too.”
“At Northstone, we are very aware of the growing skills gap in the construction industry and believe that we must play our part in bringing new people into our world of work. As well as building good quality homes, we also want to leave a lasting legacy within the communities in which we operate, providing opportunities for local people, through our education, apprenticeship and upskilling programmes. Additionally, by supporting our suppliers to get involved, we can ensure that we have a supply chain that has the right skills and qualities to support us.”
Jane Smith, Partnerships Manger at Calico Enterprise said: “Every apprentice appointed through our North West Shared Apprenticeship Service has their own mentor and Apprenticeship Officer to ensure they successfully progress through their qualification. The mentor provides the pastoral care to each apprentice to support them to overcome everyday challenges associated with a new job and the Apprenticeship Officer supports them through their studies, ensuring they are collecting the work-based evidence they need to successfully complete their course.”
The Northstone construction team will work with Calico Enterprise and CITB to support each apprentice to develop technical skills which includes college days and the guarantee that 20% of their time will be spent away from the site environment to allow for additional learning and personal development. Apprentices will also be invited to get involved in community events, charity work and speaking to other students about the advantages of becoming an apprentice.
Andrew Bridge, Local Manager for the North of England and the Midlands at CITB said: “Apprenticeships in construction are the lifeblood of the industry and are seen as the ideal starting point for anyone considering a career in construction. There’s lots of variety on offer with apprenticeships in trades that many people will be familiar with, such as joinery and brickwork, to those that are at the cutting edge of the future of construction, such as digital engineering technician. CITB works with the industry to recruit apprentices with support provided by the CITB Apprenticeship Team and funding through the CITB Grant Scheme. CITB and construction will be celebrating the important role apprentices play in the industry throughout National Apprenticeship Week, recognising the opportunities apprenticeships create for people and the benefit apprentices give to employers of all sizes.”
Kevin concludes: “At the end of the apprentice programme with Northstone, we want people to have the right qualifications as well as the technical and personal skills to achieve successful careers within the construction sector. Currently 90% of apprentices employed through the Shared Apprenticeship Service go on to gain employment within the sector and we will actively encourage our supply chain to provide permanent opportunities for apprentices who successfully achieve their apprenticeship training as well as providing permanent opportunities ourselves.”