Eight new apprenticeships on major WWH development in Wrexham
Published by Sarah Manners for Wales & West Housing Association in Housing and also in Communities, Education
Young apprentices on site in Wrexham
A major new housing development in Wrexham is already bringing employment benefits to the town.
A local building firm has just taken on eight new apprentices to learn their trade on Anwyl Construction’s £15 million contract to build nearly 150 new homes on two sites in Wrexham for leading social housing landlord Wales & West Housing and Wrexham County Borough Council.
The eight apprentices, who all live locally and who range in age from 16 to 26, will be learning their trade by working with bricklaying specialist sub-contractors Alan Davies and Sons who will be doing much of the work on the two sites on Kingsmills Road and Rivulet Road.
Craig Sparrow, Development Manager for Wales & West Housing, said: “One of the key aspects of our bid to develop this project in Wrexham was to contribute to training apprenticeships and tap into local supply chains and labour.
“This is a real opportunity for these young apprentices and our hope is that they will continue through working with the contractor to learn something that will give them a career in construction.
“Anwyl Construction have been very proactive in working with us to provide training apprenticeships on these sites and progress is going well, there’s a lot of activity now and more and more trades are being involved every week.”
Anne Hinchey, Chief Executive of Wales & West Housing, said: “Our developments in Kingsmills Road and Rivulet Road are not just about providing high quality affordable homes and facilities for the people of Wrexham.
“We are committed to enabling work and training opportunities for local people, and to supporting the local economy by employing local companies wherever possible.”
Councillor Mark Pritchard, Wrexham Council’s Lead Member for Housing and Planning said: “I am delighted that this project is not only providing much needed homes for local residents, but also providing work opportunities for local people.
“This is another example of successful partnership working and I’m thrilled that young people in the area will be able to gain valuable experience by working on this development.
“I would also like to thank all of the officers involved in this project.”
Four, who come from Yale College’s Faculty of Construction and Engineering in Bersham Road, will be trained as bricklayers while the remaining four, from Caia Park will be on general building duties with the opportunity to move on to specialist apprenticeships.
Iain Murray, Construction Manager for award-winning builders Anwyls, said: “It was always our intention to ensure that this major contract should bring benefits to the local area and we’re delighted that this is already happening.
“It is important to both Wales & West Housing and us that this project provides as many high quality training opportunities as possible.
That was one of the reasons why Alan Davies and Sons was successful at the Meet The Contractor event we held in June as they are hugely experienced and have a very good track record in employing apprentices.”
Alan Davies, 63, learned his trade as an apprentice bricklayer in the old Llay Main colliery, building ventilation shafts and bricking up old mine workings and he said: “I’ve always been keen to have apprentices and we always use Yale College.
“In fact one of my sons, Lee, is a bricklaying tutor there and another, Chris, is at Deeside College so I know they’re being taught the right way.
“I would think almost every bricklayer in the town has worked for me at some time and a lot of them learned their trade with us.
“We’ve taken on four from the college as apprentice bricklayers and they will be with us four days a week and in college one day a week and the four from Caia Park will be on general building duties and if they impress us there will be apprenticeship opportunities for them too.”
One of the apprentices is Alan Davies’s grandson, Ryan, aged 21, from Gresford, the fourth generation of the family to pick up a trowel and who is tutored by his dad at Yale and he said: “I’m enjoying it, it’s a great opportunity because I’ve always wanted to be in the building trade.
“I think it must be in the blood but I couldn’t have better teachers.”
Another is Phil Doyle, 26, from Penycae, who said: “I moved here from Ireland and I heard about the college through my fiancée and signed up there.
“The course has been brilliant and to get an apprenticeship so soon after starting in September is fantastic.”
The twin developments for Wales & West Housing working in partnership with Wrexham County Borough Council are due to be completed by December 2013 with Rivulet Road seeing 35 houses and apartments built as well as a five-storey block of 20 apartments while a further 92 will be developed at Kingsmills Road as well as a new Community Resource Centre and Medical Facility.
Kingsmills Road / Rivulet Road is the second major contract Rhyl-based Anwyl Construction has landed with Wales & West Housing in the last 18 months since starting work on Llys Jasmine in Mold, an £8.5 million Extra Care and Dementia Care development for older people.
The apprentice recruitment has also been welcomed by Yale College’s Graham Evans, Director of the Faculty of Construction and Engineering, who said: “We’re delighted that four of our students have been taken on and we hope that as the job progresses we will also see opportunities for apprentice joiners, plasterers, electricians and plumbers.
“They will be employed through the Construction Skills programme and what is encouraging is that we are seeing an increase in apprenticeships for the first time in three years and that gives us a glimmer of hope.
“Apprentices are the lifeblood of the construction industry and it is usually construction that leads the way out of a recession.
“This is the only significant building project locally and it is very encouraging that it is taking on young men from within the catchment area. To have four on one job is excellent and we’re over the moon about it.”
Anwyl Construction Director Mathew Anwyl said: “We’re delighted to have been able to create opportunities among the local workforce.
“We regard apprenticeships as vitally important to the future of the construction industry and we have close links with colleges such as Deeside and now Yale and the excellent training schemes they run.”