Ilkeston Construction Boss To Boost Apprenticeships

A Derby-based construction boss has declared that 22 percent of his workforce started as apprentices – and he is now on a mission to tempt others into this exciting career.

Ian Hodgkinson, director at Pride Park based Hodgkinson Builders, co-founded the Access Training Construction Academy in association with BUILDBASE in 2019 – and he has been so buoyed by the quality of the professionals emerging from the bricklaying apprenticeship scheme that he is keen to develop and expand it well into 2020.

He said: “To survive in business, you need the lifeblood of apprentices; of motivated youngsters who are given the tools that they need to make a difference and achieve their dreams”

“Of our 100-strong bricklaying workforce, 22 of them are already a product of our training and apprenticeship schemes and I fully expect that proportion to increase as we move into the future.”

The bricklaying academy, which is run by Access Training, already delivers high-quality vocational tuition, but Ian is planning to supplement that by making sure the apprentices also get out onto real building sites.

He said: “We need our apprentices to be work-ready the moment they emerge from the academy, so in 2020, they will all be getting the chance to work on real operational sites.

“Those will include the site of the Old Poplar pub in Ilkeston’s Bath Street where 19 homes and a business centre are being built. It will also include our 18-bungalow site in Mansfield, our 35-house site in Ashbourne and our 17-house development in Eastwood.”

Rachel West, Sales Manager at Access Training, said: “The support Ian provides for our preliminary traineeship programme is also vital, because it focuses on young people of between school and potential apprenticeship age.

“In addition to enabling us to direct the very best talent into the apprenticeship scheme, it means that, rather than young people being forced to perform well in stressful interview situations, they simply get to go out there and prove to us what they can do.”

Hodgkinson Builders had a record year in 2019, building 180 houses. The company also trialled timber frames and liquid screed to help speed up the efficiency of the build process – and as the techniques are rolled out, it is anticipated that 2020 will see the construction of more than 200 houses.

Ian added: "We are in a fantastic position both with our forward order book, and with our current developments in Stoke, Ilkeston, Ashbourne, Eastwood, Worksop and Ripley.

“While most construction firms are likely to be compromised by Brexit in terms of resources and staffing, the fact that we can generate our own skilled workforce means we’re completely unaffected by it.

“We can simply push on, investing in our apprentices and doing an ever greater part to help solve Britain’s housing shortage.”


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