Property and Construction in Chesterfield

“The nature of roles in the construction industry are changing”

Chesterfield Property and Construction group member and Associate Director of Nineteen47 Sarah Wills, has penned her thoughts on the importance of skills and employability initiatives in the town during National Careers Week 2022.


The property and construction industry impacts on all of our lives.  It is an industry that creates and changes the places in which we live, work, communicate, play and exercise.

The professions across the industry are diverse and it is a fascinating space to be when all of those different facets of the built environment come together to create places.  That said, the workforce creating these places that we all interact with every day, should represent the populations we are creating places for and currently, there is a distinct lack of diversity across the sector.

The Chesterfield Property and Construction Group are aware of our role to raise the profile of the industry and encourage and support people from all backgrounds to enter the built environment disciplines.  The forum has supported some fantastic initiatives in Chesterfield including Made in Chesterfield which highlights and celebrates manufacturing, engineering, science and technology industries and careers in the town.

The My Future virtual platform is an exciting resource to showcase careers and apprenticeships available in the local area.  In addition, a significant amount of time is being spent on expanding a mentoring scheme to support young people across North Derbyshire who are interested in pursuing a career working in the built environment.

As an industry, we collectively need to shout about how rewarding it is to work within the sector and make young people or those retraining and changing careers aware that being involved can help shape real places around them; can help tackle climate change, can address housing shortage, can allow biodiversity to flourish alongside new development and can protect our heritage and our future.

With new methods of construction and sustainability at the heart of current directives, the nature of roles in the construction industry are changing and there is a significant opportunity to engage those who have previously felt it was not for them or not been aware of the broad range of job prospects available across the built and natural environment.

I am proud to be part of the property industry.  Awash with real, genuine and kind people who are actively trying to make a difference to Chesterfield and the places that make it special.  I hope that the property and construction industry will be a more accessible, obvious choice for a broader range of young people in the future.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Blog, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Property and Construction, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

Whittam Cox take top regional award for project in nearby Sheffield

Chesterfield-based Whittam Cox has won the ‘Refurbishment/Fit out of the year’ award at this year’s Yorkshire Insider Property Industry Awards, for work carried out on the Beton House development in Sheffield.

The annual dinner is a highlight in the property industry calendar that celebrates major achievements across the sector in the region. In this category, the judges were looking for evidence of standout projects that demonstrated fresh thinking, new design standards and a positive response from the local community.

Beton House is the third phase of the redevelopment of Sheffield’s iconic Park Hill estate and provides student accommodation in a unique three-storey townhouse format, with entrances accessed from the famous ‘streets in the sky’.

Originally completed in 1961, Park Hill is the largest listed building in Europe and is regarded as a significant brutalist building of heritage. Working with Alumno Group, Historic England, Urban Splash and Sheffield City Council, Whittam Cox developed a refurbishment strategy seeking to restore and enrich the successful elements of the original design whilst also adding new elements to the fabric to provide character and identity to the building.

The retention of most of the original fabric also makes this a very sustainable student living building in terms of embodied carbon.

Matthew Borland, Associate Director at Whittam Cox commented: “As a team, we have worked incredibly hard to understand the deep roots of the original design which is clearly unique in architectural character.

“Our designs for Béton House retain and celebrate all of the important elements of the original scheme, while respectfully adding new layers of identity, using the famous ‘streets in the sky’ to create a unique student living offering in Sheffield city centre.

The completion of Beton House as part of the regeneration of Park Hill has created a thriving community for the City – not only in the physical concrete structure that has been transformed but the life that has been reimagined into it.”

Nick Riley, Whittam Cox Board Director commented: “Park Hill is captivating and infectious; its original design has timeless value and integrity architecturally.

“Our team have delivered a design response which ensures a long-term future for the fabric of this historically important asset, whilst also seeking to promote a sustainable and diverse community. Being part of the Park Hill story has been a genuine privilege for us, especially as so many of our team and their families live in the city. Winning this prestigious title is a testament to what the entire project team have achieved”.

Whittam Cox supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

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Get on the ladder and build a career in Property and Construction

Are you looking to get on the career ladder? The Property and Construction sector is a great place to build your career. This sector currently employs around 2,600 people locally, with the share of employment broadly in line with the national average.

Currently there is a growing number of active housing sites in Chesterfield and these will drive construction growth alongside the development of new commercial sites such as Chesterfield Waterside and Staveley Corridor. You can learn more about this specific sector on the My Future careers platform.

There are many benefits to taking an apprenticeship as a career route, especially in the Property and Construction sector.

Growing number of apprenticeship vacancies

There is a growing number of apprenticeship vacancies becoming available as the sector expands.

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.

Right now the construction industry is seeing a period of growth and given the impact of the last 18 months this is a fantastic place to be. What we cannot now afford is for that growth to be stifled by an inability to attract the required employees, and this is where apprenticeships will no doubt become increasingly important to our sector.”

You can find all current apprenticeship vacancies available in Chesterfield and North Derbyshire here.

Learning on the job

Apprenticeships allow you to learn new skills on the job, whilst also earning a wage.

Andrew Byrne, Property Development Director of Devonshire Property Group, said: “Apprenticeships are, and have been, the life blood of the construction industry for many many years.  They are a great way for people to learn on the job and perfect their skills, whilst reaping the benefits of employment.

We all live, work or play in buildings at some point in our daily lives and being part of creating those spaces is one of the most rewarding feelings there is.  This takes on even more importance as today’s apprentices will be learning the skills that will re-shape those places, where we live and work, making them more environmentally friendly and directly tackling the impacts and in some cases the causes of climate change.”

The Apprentice Perspective

Kieran Cox – Inspire Design and Development Ltd

Why did you choose an apprenticeship in this sector and what do you enjoy about it?

“My course is the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations and my job title is Apprentice CAD Technician. Often I will be recreating sketched drawings into AutoCAD and mocking up drainage plans under supervision, I chose to work in the Construction industry as I believe it’s an opportunity to show the works you create along the way, this comes as a source of job satisfaction for myself and for others also, seeing developments I have had a hand in be built and work as intended always inspires me to learn further.”

What are the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship as a route to get into the sector?

“I feel that there are many obvious benefits with an apprenticeship, especially in terms of having first-hand experience at the jobs you potentially may work in, and should you not find that specific job is for you, you’re still learning towards other newer opportunities such as civil engineering. Skills developed are transferable as construction is such a broad branch of work, which allows you to shift focus to a line of work not to dissimilar to the last.”

Aaron Wathall – Woodhead Group 

Why did you choose an apprenticeship in this sector and what do you enjoy about it?

“I am currently doing a technical apprenticeship, which involves experiencing different aspects of the business such as site management, project management, quantity surveying and estimating. However I do look at other areas of the business for a month, such as financing, social development of the sector etc. which I experience in the head office.

I chose an apprenticeship in construction because I was brought up around it all my life working with my dad on property development including renovating our bungalow which I did with my brother who is a joiner. I  also studied construction in school so I felt this was the right career path to go down. I enjoy meeting new people and getting knowledge from experienced sub-contractors and people on site. I also enjoy looking at the different build stages and watching certain works take place and finally seeing the completed project.”

What are the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship as a route to get into the sector?

“The benefits of doing an apprenticeship in this sector is you get to experience across lots of different areas of the business and are not fixed to one role. Also, all the knowledge and experience you gain from the apprenticeship can then help you make future career choices knowing what you enjoyed and liked most in the apprenticeship.”

Sam Bartram – Woodhead Group 

Why did you choose an apprenticeship in this sector and what do you enjoy about it?

“I chose a 2 year apprenticeship covering all aspects of the company including site management, project management, quantity surveying, estimating and support services. This allows me to see how people own it, achieve it and improve it – the company values. I chose the apprenticeship within construction due to the fact that I previously worked as a shop fitter and wanted a challenge within a different area of construction. I enjoy the fact that this programme allows us to trial and chose our future career path and I’m looking forward to covering these.”

What are the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship as a route to get into the sector?

“The benefit of an apprenticeship route in my opinion is that you are provided with expert experience and knowledge in the field of construction learning first-hand and then getting the qualifications to back up the internal training plans. This was a key factor for me choosing this route.”

Learn more about apprenticeships from current apprentices in Chesterfield here.

Posted in Apprentice Town, Blog, Made in Chesterfield, Property and ConstructionTagged in , , ,

Destination Chesterfield Chair to speak at prestigious East Midlands Bricks Awards

Peter Swallow, Chair of Destination Chesterfield and Managing Director of Bolsterstone Group PLC, has been announced as the guest speaker for this year’s East Midlands Bricks Awards on Thursday 30th September at the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in Nottingham.

The East Midlands Bricks Awards is an independent awards and publicity programme recognising development projects and people in commercial and public building across the region. The awards are split into 10 categories covering every aspect of the property sector and will celebrate the achievements and standards set by both companies and individuals.

Peter Swallow said: “I am very much looking forward to speaking at the East Midlands Bricks Awards 2021. Despite the challenges over the last 18 months the East Midlands construction and property sector has held up well and we have a lot to celebrate.”

This year’s award categories include: Contractor of the Year, Developer of the Year, Commercial Development of the Year, Residential Development of the Year, Sustainable Development of the Year, Deal of the Year, Most Active Agents of the Year, Architects of the Year, Excellence in Design, Responsible Business and of course Overall Winner.

The Bricks also present an ideal networking opportunity, with the leaders of property and construction businesses from across the East Midlands in attendance.

A number of developments are currently taking place in Chesterfield, including the town’s flagship Chesterfield Waterside, Northern Gateway and Elder Way schemes. To find out more about the regeneration taking place across the town, take a look at our developments page.

Chesterfield is also home to the Property and Construction group,  which brings together business leaders of the region’s property sector and Chesterfield Borough Council to shape and drive forward collaboration, investment, sustainability and skills within Chesterfield.

If you want to find out more about Chesterfield’s ongoing regeneration and investment opportunites, you are now able to secure a free place at the Chesterfield Investment Summit, taking place on Wednesday, 24th November. Find out more.

Bolsterstone Group PLC supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 190 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Peter Swallow Chair of Destination Chesterfield

Posted in Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Home, Property and Construction, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , ,

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