Young unemployed adults in Gosport have been given specialist training by Wates Residential to help boost their employment prospects.
The national developer demonstrated its commitment to improving training opportunities in the area as 13 students graduated from its accredited Building Futures programme on Friday.
The free two-week course, which started on Monday June 18th, provides basic construction training and helps participants develop new skills to help them make the transition into employment or training.
Activities included sessions on joinery, tiling and carrying out small repair tasks, as well as classroom-based lessons on health and safety.
On Friday, Wates Group Director, Tim Wates, and the Mayor of Gosport joined the students at a closing ceremony at the Town Hall to celebrate their achievements.
Caroline Dinenage MP also attended the event, as well as three councillors from Gosport Borough Council and Jeremy Herring from Homes England.
Each of the participants received a BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Construction and Health and Safety, in addition to Asbestos Awareness and Traffic Marshalling certificates.
The Building Futures programme, which was delivered in partnership with Ixion Trainers, took place as part of Wates Residential’s current work on the Daedalus project in Lee-on-the-Solent.
Wates Residential was chosen by Homes England – the Government’s housing delivery agency – earlier this year to act as the trusted delivery partner for the project, which will dramatically increase the number of new homes available.
The developer’s plans will provide a mix of housing, with 120 private homes and 80 shared ownership homes set to be built. Construction is expected to start later this year.
The Building Futures course is one of the first of Wates Residential’s pledges, which will see the business invest in skills, education and training in Gosport. Other commitments include 10 apprentices being taken on over the life of the project and work experience placements being provided for local students.
The scheme will be built through Homes England’s Direct Commissioning Initiative, which is designed to enable the Government to fast-track the building of homes on publicly owned land and diversify housing delivery. Wates Residential will build the 200 homes at double the pace of the industry standard.
Daedalus is the former Royal Navy Air Station in Lee-on-the-Solent. It originally served as a seaplane base in 1917 during the First World War and later became the main training and administrative centre of the Fleet Air Arm. Since its decommissioning in 1996, the site fell into disrepair before being acquired by Homes England.
Paul Nicholls, Managing Director of Wates Residential, said:
“We are incredibly proud of the 13 students who graduated from our Gosport Building Futures course on Friday. Their ambition to learn new skills – from repair work to joinery – is testament to their determination to kick-start their careers and we are confident that each of them will go on to do whatever they set their minds to.
Investing in training and education, and organising courses like the Building Futures programme, are just some of the ways we hope to deliver a lasting legacy for Gosport and the wider Lee-on-the-Solent area as we build hundreds of new homes for the local community.”
The Mayor of Gosport, Cllr Diane Furlong, commented:
“It was a pleasure to meet the young people who undertook the two-week training course with Wates and Ixion. They came away with certificates for what they had achieved and were all very enthusiastic about looking towards their futures.
This kind of programme gives both the young, and those maybe slightly older, who have not been in formal work for a while, a great opportunity to gain confidence and boost self-esteem. It also gets them out into the workplace with more confidence than they may have had previously. This is a great opportunity and the smiling faces of the young people were testament to the success of the venture.”
Jeremy Herring, Project Manager, Homes England, said:
“The commitment Wates has shown to ensuring that young people are interested in a career in construction is excellent and courses like this will help ensure that the sector is able to recruit the right people in the future.”