Toby Perkins

Chesterfield MP congratulates local construction apprentices

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.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Home, Made in Chesterfield, Property and Construction, UncategorisedTagged in , , , , , , ,

MPs praise Chesterfield College for its work in developing skills for the future

The Minister for Apprenticeship and Skills, Gillian Keegan MP, visited Chesterfield College virtually last week (Thursday, 28th January).

During the visit, she praised leaders of the college for the work they are undertaking and confirmed that the strategic direction of the organisation meets the ambitions of the Government’s vision for further education, and the role colleges will play in future skills development across the UK.

Local MPs, Toby Perkins, Lee Rowley and Mark Fletcher attended the visit, and pledged their support for the college and the vital role it plays in the development of local communities.

They also praised the college for the work it had undertaken before and during the pandemic.

The visitors explored how the college supports employers, students and apprentices whilst also discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the further education sector.

Topics for discussion included how the college is addressing local skills needs, creatively developing the curriculum, adapting to meet financial constraints, and responding to meet the needs of students and apprentices in lockdown.

Julie Richards, Principal and Chief Executive of the Chesterfield College Group explained: “Our vision is to be recognised as an outstanding college by the communities we serve. We equip our students and apprentices with the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need for success in both their career and personal life.

“The college aims to be the first choice for education and skills in our local area, equipping individuals and employers with the skills they need both now and in the future, supporting our economy to grow and prosper.

“We are making significant progress in realising our vision and the proposals set out in the recently announced FE White Paper places the college in a very favourable position to address the ambitions of Government.

“However, to support the growth and development of people through further education we need parity of funding with schools and support to ensure both young people and adults can access the skills they need for a bright and prosperous future.”

Gillian Keegan MP said: “It was great to be able to virtually visit Chesterfield College to hear how they are supporting learners to build the skills they need to be successful in their future careers.

“I really enjoyed speaking to students Jack and Georgie, who have so much enthusiasm for their studies, and have continued to work hard during the lockdown to develop their skills and knowledge.”

The Minister met a student and an apprentice during the visit and asked about their experiences of learning with the college. Beauty Therapy student, Georgie McGregor and Electrical Installation Apprentice, Jack Harris who is completing his apprenticeship at the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire, explained how the college is helping them to realise their ambitions.

The Minister asked them how lockdown was affecting their learning and what opportunities had arisen. She also asked about careers advice and the importance of supporting young people into the most appropriate study options.

Georgie told the Minister: “The college has a great programme to advise students of our careers options. We are provided with advice and guidance relating to the different routes open to us when we go out to the big wide world. Employers take part on our online learning which helps us to understand how to apply our skills in industry.”

“We are currently focusing on theory as part of the Level 3 course, by working online with live lessons delivered by our tutors. Getting the theory done means as soon as we can get back in the classroom we can use the knowledge we are gaining now to support us as we develop our practical skills.”

Jack explained how he spent his time during furlough getting ahead in his studies and completing 10 practice papers for his exam. His hard work paid off and he achieved a pass of 98%.

He told the Minister how the college has supported him as he has progressed through the levels of study and how hard he is working to fulfil his ambition to become Head Electrician at the Chatsworth Estate.

The Minister praised Jack and Georgie for their attitude and using their time wisely in lockdown.

She wished them well in their studies and promised to return to visit in person as soon as she is able, asking if Georgie would do her make-up when she comes to see the facilities and more of the initiatives she had heard about during her virtual visit.

Posted in About Chesterfield, Apprentice Town, Business, Destination Chesterfield, Development, Featured, Home, Made in Chesterfield, Uncategorised, VisitingTagged in , , , , , , , , ,

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