As one of the largest new developments in the South West, Sherford’s creation is continuing to boost the local construction employment landscape, with hundreds of workers using their skills to help build the town’s homes, roads and supporting infrastructure.
Helping to boost manual skills by providing training and practical experience across trades, which includes bricklaying, carpentry and plumbing, and located at the heart of the new development, the one-of-a-kind Skills Training facility was created to reduce the region’s skills shortage. Supported by onsite teams and teaching staff, the centre engages a variety of users, from apprentices and veterans, to those looking to upskill or retrain.
The next generation of construction workers also have an opportunity to learn and train at Sherford, with 40 apprentices currently employed at the development; with over 75% of these aged between 16-24. Sherford apprentices are supported onsite by the Skills Training Centre’s expert teaching staff, which includes those from a variety of training providers, such as industry training board, CITB.
Sherford Skills Training Centre staff are also helping to inspire young people about construction career options and have engaged with over 1000 pupils at schools across Plymouth and beyond. From speaking at local school assemblies and holding drop-in sessions, to creating a work experience programme across trades for children aged 14 and over, the centre is helping to create the builders of the future.
Marking a major commitment to reducing and addressing the region’s skills challenge, the £370,000 centre is funded by the Sherford Consortium, with key delivery partners including City College Plymouth, South Devon College and CITB.
Steven Ricketts, Sherford Skills Training Co-Ordinator, said: “Sherford is helping to support and grow the South West’s construction industry by offering local people the opportunity to learn and work at one of the region’s largest active construction sites. The Skills Training Centre offers people from all backgrounds, from apprentices and contractors, to veterans, the resources and training needed to retrain, refresh or upskill.
“Working with industry training board, CITB, the centre works to address the skills most needed in demand across the industry, and as well as achieving recognised qualifications, users acquire the expertise and experience needed to progress professionally. We are proud of the results the centre has already achieved, and hope to inspire more young people to consider a career in construction.”
Emma Colin, Sherford Consortium said: “Sherford is a new community being constructed by local people and local businesses, and skilled workers are essential in helping to deliver the high-quality homes and infrastructure required. As one of the most innovative new developments, it is fantastic to be able to provide local people with expert onsite training to help them progress professionally, while bolstering the region’s construction industry and economy.”
Cllr Dan Brown, South Hams District Council’s Lead Member for Sherford, said: “I’m thrilled with the Skills Training Centre’s success. It’s a win-win for everyone; the students, both young and old, who get qualifications and learn new skills, but also for the community who will benefit from more skilled trade workers locally.
“Not only is the Centre providing a practical career path for lots of people, but they are also inspiring school children to think about their own future professions. The Centre is such a boost to the area and they should be congratulated for their wonderful work.”
Case Study: Ben
Falling out of love with his job as a local community sports coach, Ben was looking to take on a new professional challenge in the construction industry. Wanting to learn more about the industry, as well as to help him achieve his long-term dream of becoming a property developer, Ben was introduced to the Sherford Skills Training Centre.
With no previous knowledge or experience in construction, Ben was eager to dive in and find out more about the industry, quitting his job to take part in the Centre’s Construction Skills Course. A four-week course designed to give participants experience across all major construction trades, including plastering, painting and bricklaying, Ben had the opportunity to test his practical skills under the supervision and guidance of the Centre’s staff.
Ben said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to get on with it and learn by trial and error. I wasn’t afraid of making a mistake, as there was always someone on hand to offer support and show me the right way of doing things.”
During the final week of the course, Sherford contractors visited the centre to meet the course participants, and Ben soon caught the attention of Infinite Tiling, securing a role as a multi-trade apprenticeship with the company.
Successfully completing the course, and shortly finishing his apprenticeship, Ben will soon be taking on a full-time contract with Infinite Tiling. Ben also recently visited the centre to complete a mastic sealant refresher course.
From a construction novice, to full-time tiling professional Ben said: “The Sherford Skills Training Centre was a fantastic place to learn, with everything available in one place. Having the opportunity to meet those working at the site, as well seeing the ‘real-world’ of construction was brilliant, and it gave me everything I needed to start my journey in construction.
Case Study: Anna
Previously a nursery supervisor when she realised the potential of working in the construction industry, Anna was looking to dramatically change her choice of career. Keen to take the first step, Anna enrolled on the Construction Skills course at the Sherford Skills Training Centre.
Providing training across all major construction trades, as well as teaching basic construction techniques and skills, participants have the chance to achieve nationally recognised trade credits. For those who enjoy all aspects of construction, the course also helps participants to choose which area of construction they would like to pursue; whether is painting and decorating, bricklaying or carpentry.
During the course, Anna demonstrated excellent practical skills, producing industry quality work, while consistently going above and beyond the tasks set. Successfully completing the course with a 100% attendance record, Anna also attained 100% in the CSCS operatives test.
The Skills Training Centre provided Anna with the opportunity to meet with various industry professionals, and she has since gone on to successfully secure a carpentry apprenticeship with a national homebuilder. Demonstrating that if you have the commitment and attitude needed to pursue an exciting new career, Anna is just one example of how the Skills Training Centre is helping to change lives.
For more information about the Sherford Skills Training Centre and Sherford visit: www.sherford.org