LINDEN Homes has signed a partnership agreement with South Devon College to create an exciting new training and education hub at its new White Rock development in Paignton.
The company has always trained apprentices but this formal agreement and the establishment of the hub hopes to encourage more young people into the construction industry and tackle the issue of youth unemployment.
Apprenticeships will help to bridge the gap between education and full-time employment. There will be a dedicated on-the-job training programme complemented by attendance at South Devon College on a day release basis, working work towards a level two or three qualification.
They will be available in a number of skills including painting and decorating, bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry and business administration, and are open to anybody over 16 years of age. They will last between 15 months and three years.
The hub will be created in spring 2014 with facilities to enable apprentices, higher education students, plus primary and secondary school children, to view a busy construction site, get hands-on with the different types of materials and see if a career in the construction industry is for them.
Linden Homes is part of the Galliford Try Group, the company behind Wimbledon's retractable roof, the restoration of St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel and the new South Devon Link Road.
Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive, began his career at South Devon College studying a building studies course and was the keynote speaker at the college's Day of Celebration, where he also signed the partnership agreement for the new apprenticeship programme.
Greg has over 25 years' experience in the industry and was a founder director for Midas Homes in 1992, which was subsequently acquired by Galliford Try in 1997.
Speaking about the new scheme, Greg said: "I'm incredibly passionate about young people having the opportunities that I had and getting a skill under your belt will set you up for life for a career in construction and housebuilding. I look forward to continuing to work with South Devon College and hopefully equip the next generation of leaders in construction with the skills they need."
Adele Dawson, head of department from South Devon College said: "Galliford Try is putting a lot back in to the community through their education programme at the South Devon Link Road project, and now this is being extended to the Linden Homes' White Rock development.
"The college will be co-ordinating an education programme for primary, secondary and college students to give them a taste of construction.
"Linden Homes is working with its supply chain to encourage apprenticeships and the college will be providing training both at White Rock in the new training hub and at college.
"This is a win-win-win for the community, students and Galliford Try/Linden Homes, and we really thank Greg and his colleagues for making this possible."