Young apprentices are building their future careers at one of South West’s biggest developments – Riverside in Bath.
Six apprentices are learning skills in carpentry, bricklaying and plumbing as they gain on-the-job experience at the Bath Riverside regeneration project.
The apprentices have been taken on as part of an inter-agency partnership to boost employment opportunities for local people.
The Bath and North East Somerset Learning and Skills Partnership set a three-year target to recruit 10 apprentices – and six have started work within just 16 months.
This includes 18-year-old Daniel Bonnett of Combe Down who is studying for his Level 2 Carpentry NVQ by working for Crest Nicholson and building on his trade skills at City of Bath College. He said: “An apprenticeship is completely the best thing that could have happened to me.”
As the country celebrates National Apprenticeship Week, Matt Atkinson, City of Bath College Principal and Chairman of the B&NES Learning and Skills Partnership, said he was impressed with the dedication of the apprentices.
He said: “The Bath Riverside project is not only providing homes for the community, it is also providing much-needed training opportunities for local people.
“The development is playing a key role in the local economy and this is another example of a successful partnership working towards a better future.
“Apprentices are the lifeblood of industries and at Bath Riverside; apprenticeships are enabling young people to gain valuable experience to kick-start their careers.”
A training and learning skills plan was drawn up to meet the needs of the community as part of Section 106 agreement during the granting of planning permission.
It included opening an on-site training cabin kitted out with laptops for use by the site’s workforce of between 150-200 people.
About 15 per cent of workers have already used the on-site facility, many of them to gain their nationally-recognised Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card – an essential piece of documentation to work on construction sites.
An additional 25 members of the public and City of Bath College students have used the training suite to gain their CSCS qualification.
Workers can also take courses to improve their basic skills in IT, literacy, numeracy, and undergo health and safety training. They can also get free advice with weekly visits from a career advisor.
Another aim was to provide the skilled unemployed with jobs – with 14 unemployed people being employed to date, which already exceeds the three year target of 10 people.
In addition, schools, colleges and universities are invited to the site to learn about construction-related jobs on offer. 152 students have so far visited on nine visits, with a further five visits planned in the next couple of months. The set target was 12 educational visits over three years.
The Learning Partnership also includes representatives from City of Bath College’s Community Learning, Crest Nicholson, Bath and North East Somerset Council and Job Centre Plus.
Debbie Aplin, Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Regeneration, said: “Everyone at Crest Nicholson has been really impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and skill of our apprentices. Apprenticeships are an extremely important part of the construction industry, helping to build a well skilled work force for the future.
“Working with City of Bath College enables us to bring forward people to develop a range of useful skills, so we’re pleased to be able to provide such opportunities for young people in Bath.”