About Chesterfield

Brand-new apartments now on-sale at Chesterfield’s Waterside Quarter development

Leading housebuilder Avant Homes has released a collection of brand-new one and two-bedroom apartments for sale at its popular £36m Waterside Quarter development in Chesterfield.

Located off Brimington Road, the new apartments at the development are available in three impressive designs with prices ranging from £124,995 for a one-bedroom flat to £158,495 for a two-bedroom apartment.

The apartment building is located in a prime location at Waterside Quarter with easy access to the entrance while also sitting in a private cul-de-sac, close to the River Rother. Each home across the three-storey buildings include an open-plan living space, double bedrooms and ample storage.

Named The Stevenson, The Hepworth and The Tapton apartments, the homes also comprise a high-quality specification which features a designer kitchen with integrated appliances and boutique bathrooms with full height tiling.

Avant Homes Central sales and marketing director, Dawn Bennett, said: “Waterside Quarter is one of our most highly-anticipated developments within the region, so it’s exciting to launch our apartments to appeal even further to the wide range of buyers looking to purchase in Chesterfield.

“The Stevenson, The Hepworth and The Tapton are exclusive to Waterside Quarter and buyers won’t be able to find them at any of our other developments, so with the limited availability we’re sure they will receive great interest from commuters and first-time buyers, alike.”

Waterside Quarter forms a key part of the wider £340m Chesterfield Waterside project which is one of the UK’s largest regeneration schemes.

Once complete, it will feature 173-homes across a range of one, two, three and four-bedroom properties. Available homes at Waterside Quarter are currently priced from £124,995 for a one-bedroom apartment to £295,995 for a four-bedroom semi-detached home with three storeys.

Based in Chesterfield, Avant Homes Central is part of the Avant Homes group, one of the leading private developers of residential property in the UK. The group currently has 55 developments across its five operating regions.

Find out more about the Chesterfield Waterside development at: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/developments/chesterfield-waterside/

Avant Homes supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Junction Arts intern progresses into apprentice role

Chesterfield-based community organisation Junction Arts is continuing it’s growth, by promoting intern Martha Bramwell into a full-time Projects Apprentice role.

Martha is now aiming to become a full-time projects assistant with Junction Arts, following the completion of her apprenticeship.

Originally starting with Junction Arts back in December 2020, Martha was looking to gain hands on experience within community arts to support her Foundation Art Course at Chesterfield College.

However, Hannah Bowdler, Relationship Fundraiser at Junction Arts explained how much of an impact the young intern made since joining the organisation: “Martha has made a huge impact on the charity. During her time with us, she has worked with each of our team members getting a wider understanding of the running of a community arts charity. With each person, she has shared her enthusiasm and energy making Junction Arts a truly positive place to work.

“Her direct impact on the charity includes, redesigning our new office layout in West Studios, after we downsized. It is now a welcoming and practical workspace for us to use as a hub for all our projects and activities.

“Project wise, Martha has been a vital deputy during projects including the Chesterfield Lantern Parade. Supporting a project coordinator to run a busy and complicated celebration event whilst learning what’s needed to make a large scale project successful.”

Hannah added that she was delighted to see the continued growth of the charity: “It’s a very exciting time for the charity, whilst in our 45th year Martha has enabled Junctions Arts to take the next steps to increase our capacity. Through her supportive role within the charity and with this soon to increase, the types of projects and number of communities we can work with and support has really increased in the years leading out of the pandemic.”

Martha expressed her delight at being taken on in a permanent capacity: “I am absolutely ecstatic to be offered a permanent role with Junction Arts. I can honestly say receiving the Job offer from our Managing Director, Paul, was one of the happiest moments in my life. As I feel I have worked really hard and this area is something I am really passionate about and I’m so excited for my future with Junction arts.

“Every day I’m surrounded by a supportive team who have individually worked with me trying to give me the best experience possible over the last 15 months.

“I love having roles in events and being with local communities. In December, I played a part in creating Chesterfield’s first lantern parade. I had an overwhelming sense of pride seeing all the lanterns made by school children and members of the community walk together from Queen’s Park into the town centre and will treasure this memory forever. After a difficult couple of years, I’ve never seen so many smiling faces in one place. At 19 years old, I feel so grateful that my days are filled with creativity, exciting projects and great people.

“I love the community we have here in Chesterfield and I think that’s what makes chesterfield such a great place to live, work and enjoy! I am very excited to see Chesterfield in the future and how it will develop into a town with creativity in every corner and street.”

Hannah added that the charity is now looking to further support young talent in the region by taking on a new intern: “Within the next month, we will start the process for advertising for a 1 year Internship from July 2022. It is currently an unpaid role of up to 15 hours a week, depending on the applicates availability. Applicants are to be 18yrs +.

“The Intern is positioned at the centre of the charity, with opportunities to work with all the team, support on projects and events, access to training and involved in the planning of projects. This is an entry level role into the creative/community arts/charity sector.

“We are actively looking for funding to make this a 2 day paid for position, as an investment into young people and new careers within the area.

“As a busy charity, we are always looking for volunteers on our events and projects to help them run smoothly and have a positive impact on those to attend. More details of volunteering with Junction Arts can be found here: https://junctionarts.org/volunteer/

Junction Arts supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Junction Arts at the Tapton Lock Festival

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Blue Plaque unveiled at University of Derby’s St. Helena Campus in Chesterfield

A Blue Plaque has been unveiled at the University of Derby’s Chesterfield campus to commemorate the building and its significance as a prominent former girl’s school in the area.

The plaque was unveiled at the Grade II listed building, St Helena, formerly Chesterfield Girls High School, by Dr Maureen Strelley, a former pupil and Bolsover GP, at an event hosted in collaboration with the Chesterfield Civic Society on Monday 7 March, 2022.

The building was originally designed by G.H. Widdows, one of the outstanding school architects of his day and was his first major project for the county council. Opened as a new secondary school in 1911 by the Duchess of Devonshire, the school provided transformative education for many pupils, before it closed in 1991.

In 2016, the University fully transformed the building, which is now regarded as a centre of excellence for health, providing some of the best teaching facilities in the UK for nursing courses.

Professor Keith McLay, Provost – Learning and Teaching at the University of Derby, said: “We are delighted that a Blue Plaque has been unveiled at our St Helena building in recognition of its historic significance.

“The University sympathetically restored the building, retaining most of its original features, and is now a teaching and learning environment for students who are going into valuable careers in the healthcare profession. We are proud of the building and its heritage as a pioneering educational establishment.”

Philip Riden, Chairman of Chesterfield Civic Society, added: “It is fantastic that this wonderful building, which provided life changing opportunities for so many young people, has been recognised with a Blue Plaque.“Looking back at its history, the first secondary school for girls in Chesterfield was a private school run from a house called East Bank on Sheffield Road. Faced with the need to provide places under the 1902 Education Act, the county council bought up the school and got it temporarily recognised as a public secondary school on condition that they built a new school as soon as possible, which they did on an extremely ambitious scale.“This school, which was renamed St Helena School in 1947, and Chesterfield School, which offered education to boys, were important as major agents of social mobility for their pupils, which they took from a number of schools across the borough and adjoining county area. Both enabled their pupils to proceed to higher education and onto successful professional careers, which is very much aligned to the work and ambitions of the University of Derby today.”

Other attendees at the event included Dr Denise Baker, Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care at the University of Derby, Professor Stephen Wordsworth, Interim Deputy Dean of the same College, and Frank Gorman, Secretary of the Chesterfield Civic Society.After the unveiling ceremony, all attendees were invited to lunch and a tour around the campus.As well as learning spaces, the University’s Chesterfield campus is home to the Innovation Centre Chesterfield, which allows small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to incubate new business ideas, increase their speed of growth and de-risk the process of developing new products.

Chesterfield businesses are being invited to a ‘Planning for Growth’ event at the St. Helena Campus on 27th April 2022. Organisations will be able to discover the support available to help make their goals a reality and expand their network through meeting like-minded business leaders. To find out more and book your place, go to: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/events/planning-for-growth-chesterfield/

The University of Derby supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Photo supplied by Richard Richards Photography

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New ‘bubble tea’ shop open in Chesterfield

A new shop specialising in popular ‘bubble tea’ drinks has opened on Cavendish Street in Chesterfield Town Centre.

Boba Shack offers a huge range of ‘pick & mix’ bubble tea drinks options as well as a pre-mix menu for those that are unsure of what to order.

The beverage, which has become popular in recent years orginated in Taiwan. It is an iced fruit or milk tea drink which traditionally includes soft and chewy tapioca pearls. It has evolved over the years and now includes the addition of popping bubbles and various other fillings and toppings.

Boba Shack owner, Philip Price explained why the drink has rose to prominence: “It is essentially popular because it fills a gap in the market in terms of dink options. Consider someone wants a drink, either for refreshment or flavour. The options before bubble tea were essentially a canned or bottled drink from a shop or a cup of tea, coffee, or chocolate from a café. Bubble tea sits in the middle of these. Much more flavoursome and exciting than a can of pop and much more tuned to the younger market than a hot cup of coffee.”

Philip also explained how the idea to open the shop came about: “Myself and my business partner Steve Smith were looking for something new to do in Chesterfield afer a few years of virus affected businesses. I realised that over the past two years my daughter has been persuading me and her sister to drive her all the way to Meadowhall and back just to buy a bubble tea. It struck me that if something is so much of a draw then it must be something worth investigating.

“After a short period of research and analysis we decided that Chesterfield should be able to support its own bubble tea shop, even with a much smaller population than Sheffield. So we made the decision to open. Signed the lease for an empty shop on the 4th Feb and opened 15 days later on the 19th. There were a few very long days to make that happen.”

Both Philip and Steve are excited to be bringing another unique offer into Chesterfield Town Centre: “The response and feedback has been amazing. We’ve enjoyed queues outside the shop on numerous occasions in just our first few weeks of opening, and we’ve even been told that we are becoming a reason that people are visiting the town centre. A real destination of sorts for local people, which we feel is a great thing for the town centre and will help other businesses and traders.”

“I think we are seeing a small turn in attitude as new and exciting things start to appear on the town centre. We hope we can play our small part in revitalising the town centre. We are not a franchise or big brand. Just a couple of old blokes who live in Chesterfield and have a real passion to make it an exiting and vibrant town. We’ve invested a lot of time, effort and money into getting up and running, but hopefully, the wonderful people of Chesterfield will appreciate not having to travel for their Bubble Tea anymore.”

To find out more about the range of shops, bars, restaurants and visitor attractions in Chesterfield, go to: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/visiting/

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Casa Hotel and Global Brands host emergency fundraiser for Ukraine

A special charity event has been set up by Casa Hotel and Global Brands, as part of efforts to raise funds for those affected by the current conflict in Ukraine.

Casa has launched the ‘Coffee for Ukraine’ day, taking place this Friday, 11th March at Casa’s Cocina Restaurant, with all proceeds going towards the Britsh Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. The Ukrainian flag is also mast outside the Hotel to show support and solidarity with the country.

Staff working in the Global Brands office are also doing their bit to raise money for people in need, by hosting a ‘Yellow & Blue Friday,’ with team members wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Global Brands owner, Steve Perez will be personally matching each donation raised by the staff.

Mr. Perez said he and the team have felt ‘devastated’ by recent events: “We’re receiving news from our distributor, Good Wine, in Kyiv, that their warehouse had been hit by Russian shelling, leaving their family business was completely wiped out, extremely heart breaking news.

“The Global Brands staff asked if we could have a collection which I naturally agreed and said the company would match all money raised pound-for-pound that the Global, Casa and Peak Edge teams collect.

“We will also send all proceeds of every cup of coffee, tea or soft sold this Friday to the British Red Cross Ukrainian humanitarian appeal.”

A number of businesses have been doing their bit to support the crisis, including Entire Facilities Management who set up an emergency mission to send supplies to the Polish/Ukrainian border. The Goldsmith Clinic has also donated more than £1,000 to the Distasters Emergency Committee Appeal, while The Tickled Trout has collected dozens of bags full of donations from the local community.

Casa Hotel, Global Brands, Entire Facilities Management, The Tickled Trout and The Goldsmith Clinic support the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.


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Award win for Banner Jones’ Employment Law team

The Employment Law team at leading regional law firm Banner Jones Solicitors has been recognised for displaying an innovative and flexible approach to changes in the legal market at this year’s prestigious Sheffield Law Society annual awards.

The accolade was announced at a ‘sold out’ awards ceremony, held at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield on Friday 25th February; bringing together the region’s legal community to recognise and celebrate its many achievements.

The Banner Jones Employment Law team assist both individuals and businesses across all areas of employment law.  The department helped their clients tackle the challenges brought about by the various lockdowns and the countrywide shift to remote working by launching a range of flexible appointment types, free informative webinars, free training support and explanatory guides on key topics.

Katie Ash, Head of Employment Law at Banner Jones said, “Businesses have had a lot of additional HR pressure over the last 12 months, with the winding down of the Furlough scheme, dealing with covid vaccination status policies and flexible and hybrid working patterns and contract changes. It has been a pleasure to help guide our clients through the ever-changing rules and restrictions and to be able to support them through this period of upheaval.”

Commenting on the award Banner Jones’ Chief Executive Simon Wright, said: “It is testament to the hard work and dedication that the team has shown over the past 12 months – and throughout the pandemic. They have been supported by the wider Banner Jones family including our Marketing and IT departments, so it’s with great pride that we receive this accolade on behalf of everyone at Banner Jones.”

Banner Jones Solicitors supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Banner Jones Solicitors

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Chesterfield chef featured on BBC’s Great British Menu

A Chesterfield chef has been wowing audiences on national television this week, serving up a number of signature dishes on the BBC’s Great British Menu.

The popular cookery show sees some of the UK’s top chefs battle it out to create a dish for the final banquet in the series finale.

Mark Aisthorpe, head chef and owner of The Bulls Head in Holymoorside, Chesterfield explained how he felt about being selected for the show: “I was so excited and terrified all at once, but totally honoured to be asked to be one of the chefs .

“It was a bit like a dream come true. I suppose every chef wants to showcase their work and WOW what a platform.”

While being showcased on a national platform, Mark added that he was excited to showcase some of the amazing produce North Derbyshire has to offer.

He said: “Our location in my opinion is one of the best in the country.  We have such amazing local suppliers and a variety of independent farmers just on our doorstep. Highfield Farm’s amazing Derbyshire Lamb, farmed just minutes from the restaurant.

“Foraging in the local woods which are rich in ingredients all make our food at The Bulls Head what it is today and gives me inspiration for my menus.”

Mark described competing amongst the nation’s best chefs was both ‘fun and stressful,’ adding: “Competing anywhere is hard but in a different kitchen, you don’t know and against amazingly talented Chefs is even harder.”

With recruitment proving a challenge in hospitality at the moment, Mark had encouraging words for those considering a career in the industry: “It’s hard work, long hours but I feel it one of the most rewarding jobs.  Taking one thing and making it into something that is enjoyed by people is such a good feeling.  The satisfaction you get from positive comments and reviews is amazing.”

In terms of future potential TV appearances, Mark added that he would be open to further opportunites to showcase the pub’s locally sourced produce: “My aim is to continue making The Bulls Head as good as it can be. I would love to get recognition what we are doing there.  The Bulls Head is my main priority but never say never to further opportunities.”

Chesterfield boasts award winning restaurants that are attracting national media recognition, and independent coffee shops and pubs with a belief in local produce. Find out more about dining out in Chesterfield at: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/visiting/eating-out/

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Work continues to enhance biodiversity across Chesterfield

A series of projects that aim to increase biodiversity in Chesterfield have already been successfully completed in 2022 – with even more activities planned throughout the year.

Chesterfield Borough Council has been working with both the Don Catchment Rivers Trust (DCRT) and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to support projects that will help enhance biodiversity across the borough.

In Holmebrook Valley Country Park, DCRT have worked with Fletchers Waste Management to expand the small ponds in the north of the park, which will help create a more diverse range of habitats for local wildlife.

The council, together with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, have planted 1500 trees in Whitecotes Park, Brearley Wetlands and Badger Recreation Ground. Not only do new trees help absorb carbon, but they also create new habitats for wildlife.

Councillor Amanda Serjeant, deputy leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Tackling ongoing climate change issues and improving biodiversity provision are closely related. The work we have been doing with partners aims to ensure that Chesterfield is at the forefront of tackling these emergencies. I’m proud of the work we’ve done but there is still lots more to do and I would encourage everyone to get involved and support our work in this key area.”

Councillor Jill Mannion-Brunt, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “These interventions in our green spaces not only support our ambitious climate change plans, but they also enhance these green spaces for local people. Our recently approved Parks and Open Spaces Strategy has sustainability as a key aim for works to improve our facilities.  Ensuring that local people have excellent green spaces to enjoy is key to improving the quality of life for all our residents.”

The small ponds in the north of Holmebrook Valley Park were originally created several years ago however the pond liners used became damaged and water was not being held in the ponds.

To ensure the ponds can hold water they have been lined with clay and they are already holding water following heavy rainfall. These ponds will also help reduce the flow of storm waters into the river which could reduce the flood risk downstream.

Fletchers Waste Management volunteered their machinery and staff to help complete the ponds at no cost.

DCRT will now be hosting volunteer days so that planting around the ponds can take place.

The council is working closely with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to plant trees and enhance biodiversity across the borough with funding provided through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

Further tree planting will take place in 2022 to ensure the council exceeds its target of planting at least 1000 trees every year.

The council will be working with community groups, tree wardens and other volunteers to ensure these trees are planted and can thrive. Some of these will be planted in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. More details about these and how members of the community can get involved will be released in due course.

Any residents wanting to support the council’s tree planting programme can volunteer to become a tree warden by emailing greenspaces@chesterfield.gov.uk or calling 01246 959415.

Working on ponds in Holmebrook Valley Country Park

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Derbyshire’s investment strategy named one of best in Europe by FT

Derbyshire’s strategy for attracting overseas investment to the county has been named as one of the best in Europe in rankings compiled by the Financial Times.

Part of Marketing Derby’s Invest in Derbyshire service involves attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to the county.

And in the prestigious Financial Times’ fDi European Cities and Regions of the Future 2022/23 rankings, Derbyshire has been placed fifth within the top 10 Small Regions for FDI Strategy category, which recognises the regions who have devised the strongest strategy for attracting investment.

Derbyshire is ranked alongside other regions in countries across Europe, including Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Croatia, Spain, Norway, Austria and Serbia – and is the only UK region to feature in the top 10.

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “This is really good news as we have put a lot of effort into developing the successful Marketing Derby inward investment service into the county.

“We have worked very closely with our partners at Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Economic Partnership and Destination Chesterfield in doing this.”

Derby and Derbyshire also enjoyed success in a category which recognised the efforts of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

The D2N2 LEP (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire) was ranked seventh in the Connectivity category.

fDi Intelligence is a service from the Financial Times and is the largest Foreign Direct Investment centre of excellence globally.

The rankings are one of the industry’s most prominent benchmarks of FDI competitiveness.

For this year’s rankings, fDi’s research team assessed 356 European cities and 148 European regions.

Both awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held at MIPIM, the global property fair that is set to take place in Cannes, in the south of France, next week.

The success comes hot on the heels of the launch of a new Derbyshire Investment Prospectus, showcasing 23 projects that will help lead the county’s regeneration.

Mr Forkin said: “The investment prospectus lists over £1 billion of opportunities across Derbyshire.

“This complements our new Invest in Derbyshire website and promotional films, which have just been released.”

A number of developments are currently underway in Chesterfield, providing a range of fresh investment opportunities across the town. They include Chesterfield Waterside, Northern Gateway, Elder Way, Staveley Regeneration Corridor, Markham Vale and much more.

For a full overview of the developments taking place across Chesterfield, go to https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/developments/

Find out more about why Chesterfield is an ideal place to locate your business, go to: https://www.chesterfield.co.uk/business/invest-in-chesterfield/

To read a digital version of the new Derbyshire Investment Prospectus please click here.


Northern Gateway Enterprise Centre

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Build a career in Property and Construction

Property and construction is a growing sector with a range of career routes and opportunities to upskill, making it the perfect sector to build a career.

There are currently 2,600 individuals employed in the sector locally and the number is expected to increase with future housing and development sites in Chesterfield.

Chesterfield is well positioned to respond to the growth of the sector, with a range of construction training pathways available through the existing skills infrastructure, from entry level employability programmes, to degree level professional programmes.

To enhance the exiting skills offer, a Construction Skills Hub is being developed, that will provide a platform for practical skills development.

Britcon Property and Construction


Construction Skills Hub

The Construction Skills Hub will provide a practical platform for construction training, careers activity and work experience on a live construction site in Mastin Moor. Over ten years, it aims to provide training, careers insights, and work experience for over 5,000 learners.

Initially the Skills Hub will provide training in site and bench joinery, brickwork, ground works and electrical installation but in time the offer will expand to include training in retrofit and green technologies. It will be open to school leavers and other residents seeking to train or retrain.

There will also be a careers insight programme, which will be developed in collaboration with local schools, and opportunities for work experience to help young people make informed decisions about their futures.

Meet the buyer

A site has already been identified for the Construction Skills Hub in collaboration with the Devonshire Group who will be bringing forward a new housing development in Mastin Moor from the Autumn. Andrew Byrne, Property Development Director of Devonshire Property Group, said: “I am delighted to see the proposals for the Construction Skills Hub have been given the green light. The project will enable individuals to develop the skills and experience needed to have great careers and a bright future.”

Read more about the Construction Skills Hub here.

The Apprenticeship Route

An apprenticeship offers many benefits and a great route into the property and construction sector.

Christian Peat joined DBCP, the leading provider of building control services in Derbyshire, last year after deciding his A Level course at college wasn’t for him. He demonstrates how an apprenticeship allows individuals to learn on the job and gain skills to kickstart a career in the sector.

Christian Peat 873x466

He explained: “An apprenticeship appealed to me as I knew I would be learning as well as having a job at the same time, paralleling one another.”

Having studied Construction and the Built Environment at school as well having family members who work in the sector, Christian was familiar with building regulations and health and safety which sparked his interest in joining DBCP as a member of the company’s technical support team.

He said: “What I like about my apprenticeship, is the sector that I am working in, as I have always had an interest in construction since I could pretty much walk. My dad has also worked in the sector as a quantity surveyor for as long as I remember, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

Christian added: “It’s a really varied role with DBCP which is great. It is adding to my skillset and helping me identify what I would like to follow as a career once I finish my apprenticeship.”

Individuals looking for a career in construction can search for current job vacancies here.

Hiring an Apprentice

Businesses looking to fill a skills gap should consider developing new talent through the recruitment of an apprentice.

Hiring an apprentice can bring a wealth of benefits to your business from improved productivity to improvements in the quality of products and services.

Andy Dabbs, Architect and Board Director at Chesterfield-based Whittam Cox Architects, explains: “The importance of apprenticeship programmes cannot be underestimated, particularly in the post-Brexit environment and the associated skills gap that is challenging so many businesses. Not only can these programmes provide individuals with the required skills for work but they are also more accessible, providing a platform that may otherwise not be available to so many talented candidates.”

Find out more about hiring an apprentice and the funding which is available here.

Mentoring Programme

The Future Makers, Creators, Designers and Builders Mentoring Programme is designed to support individuals who may be interested in exploring or pursuing careers working in the built environment. This might include designers, architects, surveyors, structural engineers, builders, and construction workers.

The programme is currently seeking mentors from the sector to act as role models and work with individuals to build confidence, knowledge and career prospects.

Find out how you can get involved as a mentor or mentee here.

future makers 2 873

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Community Chesterfield reflects on voluntary sector impact

A partnership project between the University of Derby and Derbyshire Voluntary Action (DVA) is reflecting on the impact it has made within the health and social care sector after creating almost 4,000 ‘meaningful connections’ across Chesterfield.

Community Chesterfield, which is nearing the end of its third year, links up the skills, knowledge and experience at the University of Derby with those of the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and has been a vital support network in the area since its launch in 2019.

The ‘meaningful connections’ between VCS organisations and the University is where the activity organised brings benefits to both. They have included Expert by Experience sessions, which have seen the project connect individuals from voluntary and community sector groups with university staff and students to share their lived experience.

Around 2250 students from the University of Derby have met 57 Experts by Experience, covering topics including family carers, medication management, mental health issues and hearing and sight loss.

Over the last three years, Community Chesterfield has also helped to successfully increase funding for local VCS groups by more than £110,000 as a result of the skills and knowledge they have gained through their involvement with the project.

The project’s online training model also continued to thrive, having delivered more than one thousand training hours in the last 12 months alone and 2271 hours in total since the start of the project. The sessions have been attended by more than 140 local health and social care sector organisations.

After assessing the need based on conversations and feedback from groups, Community Chesterfield also added in a provision for e-learning courses, as well as the project’s popular Training and Tea model – a series of 45-minute sessions at a regular day and time slot.

In addition to the popular training sessions, more than 570 participants attended shared learning workshops. These workshops, which include the Connect and Reflect sessions, aim to connect the community, the health and social care sector and the University to allow them to discuss, learn from and reflect on the common experiences we each have.

Jennifer Raschbauer, Community Chesterfield’s project manager, said: “The aim of our project has always been to bring together the University of Derby with the local community to create a resourceful, experienced and knowledgeable health and social care sector in Chesterfield.

“Despite having to negotiate through the ever-changing landscape because of the pandemic, we are extremely proud what we have achieved in the last three years and the visible positive impact with have had on the local VCS sector.

“By providing these valuable opportunities for the VCS and university to come together, we have been able to strengthen the skills of the local workforce in this sector, enabling them to be more resilient in the future and to provide the best possible support to their service users.

“As we look to the future of the Community Chesterfield project, we are excited to both cement and increase the connections we have made in the local community. We have plans to widen the reach of the work we do, which is an exciting prospect and will allow us to create more opportunities for more people across Chesterfield.”

Community Chesterfield has also facilitated 63 students to provide support to a variety of local VCS groups and supported more than 60 students on their negotiated module, where they can select a subject area of interest to them that’s not covered in the curriculum and which introduced them to a number of local charities and voluntary groups.

In addition, the project has organised five internships and 15 work placements and skills days, as well enabling the creation of one academic publication.

For more information about Community Chesterfield visit www.communitychesterfield.org.uk.

Community Chesterfield supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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