Apprentices help build eco homes in £1.9m project
Published by M Parker for Home Group in Housing and also in Communities
Left to right: Graham Booth, Vinci Construction UK, Mary Greenwood, Greenwood project, Maria Manion, Newcastle City Council and Teresa Snaith, Home Group.
A SOCIAL housing provider has given two young apprentices the opportunity to build eco homes which will help regenerate an area.
Apprentices Tom Rennie and Glenn Smithwhite are developing their skills helping to build homes in the east end of Newcastle which will be used to provide social housing and help others get a foot on the property ladder.
The apprentice bricklayers are helping to build 26 new homes for Gosforth based social housing provider Home Group. The homes are being built in the Walker area of the city and will see three houses built for shared ownership with 23 two bedroom apartments built for social rented housing for local people on waiting lists.
The pair are undertaking their apprenticeships with construction company Vinci Construction UK, which is building the properties for Home Group. The pair also train at Newcastle College’s nearby Construction Academy at Low Walker, where they are studying for an NVQ Level 2.
Glenn, 19, from nearby Walkergate said: “We’re getting a fantastic opportunity to put the hands on construction training and theory that we get from the Construction Academy into practice in a real working environment.”
Tom, 18, from New Hartley, said: “Although we’re apprentice bricklayers we’re being involved in many different aspects of the build so we’re getting a well rounded view of what is involved in a modern project.”
Teresa Snaith, Home Group head of development, said: “The homes we are building in Walker will benefit the local community. Local people have been able to learn skills on site which will equip them with the qualifications they need to enjoy a life long career in the construction industry.
“The homes will help to regenerate the area. We’ve selected a modern method of construction which is both environmentally sustainable and will give the apprentices experience in a variety of skills used in the modern construction sector.”
Graham Booth, Business Development Manager, VINCI Construction UK, Building Division – North East, said: “Given the current climate, we are delighted to be able to offer jobs for young people and an opportunity for them to develop their skills.
“Community engagement in the North East is an absolute priority for both us and our partners on the project, Home Group. As VINCI Construction UK’s presence grows in the North East, we hope to capitalise on success by creating further career opportunities for young people.”
Nicky Turnbull, Acting Director of School of Construction at Newcastle College, said: "All of our apprentices receive the highest level of training at Newcastle College. We are delighted that two of our apprentices are putting their skills to good use within such a worthwhile project.
“The college has built robust relationships and links with employers around the region, giving all of our apprentices the opportunity to develop their industry specific expertise within established businesses’’.
The homes, which are being built in Wellbeck Road, will meet level 4 of the code for sustainable development meaning they will be built to ensure they are highly energy efficient. The homes will use timber construction from sustainable sources, be highly insulated and have electricity producing solar panels installed.
The £1.9m scheme is being partly funded by the Homes and Communities Agency with a £300,000 grant. Home Group is also working in co-operation with the Greenwood Project – a Newcastle based initiative which aims to encourage young people to learn construction industry skills.
The homes will have a brickwork exterior and to add to the environmentally friendly features some of the materials uncovered on site during the ground works will be incorporated back into the building.
At the beginning of 2012 Home Group made a commitment to create more than 200 apprenticeships through a combination of internal roles and requiring contractors to employee apprentices.