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Laying the foundations for careers in construction

Youngsters from Chaucer School and Sheffield Park Academy at the launch with Master Cutler, Nicholas Cragg (front) John Clephan (rear left) and Haydn Tomlinson (rear centre).

A project to help young people build careers in construction has been launched in Sheffield by the world famous Cutler’s Company.

With the support of Sheffield Housing Company (SHC) – and particularly its construction partner, Keepmoat Homes – the Better Learners, Better Workers (BLBW) initiative is designed to show students approaching their GCSEs, the career options available in the building industry.

It will also help address the growing skills shortage in the sector in a city with plans to develop 10,000 new homes by 2024.

Launched by Master Cutler Nicholas Cragg at the prestigious Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield, BLBW is providing Year 10 students from Chaucer School and Sheffield Park Academy with a year long programme of visits to real construction sites to learn about the latest working methods, the type of jobs available and the built environment.

There are also workshops, focusing on the job application process, team building and other workplace skills such as communication, resilience and critical thinking.

Designed by employers and with support from the Cutlers’ Company and Sheffield City Council, BLBW operates across South Yorkshire, focusing on specific industry sectors, so young people can follow their interests.

This new construction and built environment sector initiative is being sponsored by SHC – Sheffield City Council’s joint venture development company, established with private sector construction partner Keepmoat Homes and Great Places Housing Group. Its goal is to improve the quality and choice of housing across the city, while creating jobs, encouraging investment and supporting the communities in which it works.

Supporting educational and training projects is a key element of SHC’s programme to help create apprenticeship and job opportunities. It is currently working on the second phase of a 25 year plan to build 2,300 new affordable homes for sale, shared ownership and rent, across the city. To date 600 homes have been completed, 60 apprentices employed, over 500 jobs created and more than £80 million spent with local suppliers.

John Clephan, Project Director with SHC, said: “We are committed to helping young people in Sheffield to get the best possible opportunities for progressing into our industry. We could see that this was an ideal way of doing that, helping to build young people’s confidence and skills but also giving them real experiences of the workplace. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the young people who were at the launch.”

Haydn Tomlinson, Land and Partnerships Coordinator at Keepmoat Homes in Yorkshire, added: “There is a huge demand for young talent in the construction industry with thousands of new jobs expected to be created in Yorkshire alone over the next few years. That’s why this scheme is so important and why we’re proud to be involved. Through it we hope to engage young people, show them the opportunities available in the modern construction industry and inspire them to consider it a career for them.”