The Chesterfield MP and Shadow Minister, Toby Perkins, has praised the work of local construction apprentices during a visit to William Davis Homes’ Skylarks development.
Mr Perkins, Shadow Minister for Skills and Further Education, presented certificates to bricklayer Kieran Moulds and joiners Joshua Ford and Dominic Heardman.
The trio completed their apprenticeships with the house builder at the development in Dunston. All three live in Chesterfield, attended Chesterfield College and will continue to work at Skylarks in their chosen trades.
Mr Perkins was joined by Amanda Serjeant, Deputy Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and representatives from Chesterfield College. Both organisations worked with William Davis Homes to create these local apprenticeships opportunities.
Gary Long is the Apprenticeship Manager at William Davis Homes. He said: “It’s rewarding to see these three completing their apprenticeships after what has been a difficult couple of years for them. They have seen their training disrupted because of the pandemic and I’m proud of the resilience and commitment they have shown despite this challenge.
“We were also pleased to work with Chesterfield College and the Borough Council to offer our apprenticeships to young people in the Chesterfield area looking to build a career in construction. Over the years, a large part of our workforce has been built on apprenticeships and we aim to continue to create these opportunities.”
The MP for Chesterfield, Toby Perkins, said: “I am delighted to present these apprentices with their certificates and congratulate them on their hard work and achievement. I also want to thank William Davis Homes, Chesterfield Borough Council and Chesterfield College for working together to create these positions and help these apprentices with their skills development and career progression. This cooperation by local authorities, providers and businesses is great to see.
“Recent research proves that our nation’s economic growth is being held back because too few young people are being attracted into the Construction industry. It is estimated that we need to train as many as 40,000 more apprentices every year to keep pace with demand and retirements from the industry. We need many more apprenticeship opportunities so I am delighted to herald the work of these young people today.
“Skills and retraining should be a vital part of our economic recovery and high-quality apprenticeships are central to this. These apprentices now have a foothold in the construction industry, which they can use to build a career in many different directions.”
Councillor Amanda Serjeant added: “Developing the skills young people have is vital to ensuring they have the ability to access career opportunities created by investment in Chesterfield. Our local labour clauses help ensure that investment creates these local employment opportunities and prioritises local suppliers.
“The progress of the apprentices on this site is just one of many successful examples of this policy in action. We can help create the opportunities with investors and developers but it is the hard work of these apprentices that has ensured they achieve their qualifications and developed the skills they need to be successful. I want to congratulate them all on this fantastic achievement.”
This week marks National Apprenticeships Week in the UK, running between 7th-13th February. The week is being marked in Chesterfield with the town’s Employability and Skills Conference on Wednesday, 9th February at The Speedwell Rooms in Staveley.
The conference will focus on the future skills and green growth agenda and examine the current recruitment challenges that employers face. A selection of local skills providers based in Chesterfield & North Derbyshire will also be showcased in an exhibition at the event.