The flagship Kirkstall Forge development has welcomed the first 11 recruits to its innovative ‘Forging Futures’ apprenticeship academy training centre, built within the grounds of the 57-acre site.
Working in partnership with EN:Able Futures, the programme takes place over two years and provides students with a wide practical experience of working professionally in the construction sector.
CEG, the developer behind the Kirkstall Forge regeneration scheme has been joined by a variety of property, planning and construction partners with each apprentice undertaking placements with these companies.
Nick Lee, Development Director at CEG, said: “It has been great to see so many of our supply chain partners and consultants get involved with this apprenticeship scheme. For young people interested in property and construction it has been fantastic as they get the opportunity to get experience working within a development and investment company, as well as across the planning, engineering, construction and project management disciplines.”
18-year-old Harris has just begun his final placement with contractor Tolent, who is currently on site delivering the first of two prototype houses at Kirkstall Forge.
The first of his family to pursue a career in construction, Harris was keen to find something more practical after completing one year at sixth form.
Currently working towards his level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment, and his Level 3 NVQ in Construction Contracting Operations with Leeds College of Building, he’s been relishing the opportunity to ‘test out’ roles including project management, quantity surveying and engineering on site.
“I was really happy when I found out I’d got the place to complete the apprenticeship with Tolent. Getting a taste of what it’s like to work on a live building site definitely made my choice to pursue this line of work a lot easier.
“I enjoy seeing the different stages of the building come together and getting to understand the different roles that have to work together to make it happen. I know I want to be on site but I’m still undecided on which role, but engineering is something I’m interested in at the moment.”
With the recent delivery of the structural insulated panels (SIPs) to site, which is a more modern method of construction, Harris has been able to see how traditional and non-traditional methods of construction come together on site.
John Currie, Regional Director for Tolent, said: “It’s important that we support and give opportunities to the next generation of construction workers, and I think it’s fantastic that the students are able to essentially try before they buy, and get to see what it’s like to work for a planner, an architect, a surveyor and contractor before deciding on which route to go down.
“Work is progressing well on site and with the completion of the SIPs panels, the next stage of the façade and mechanical and engineering works can start.”
Julie Deeley, Head of Operations at EN:Able Futures, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working in partnership with CEG and its associates, as a result of the commitment shown, the knowledge and experiences our apprentices are receiving will ensure they have a superb foundation on which to start their careers in construction. As a Shared Apprenticeship Service EN:Able Futures currently employs 80 apprentices and we pride ourselves on the support we offer to both them and the organisations they work with.”
The two prototype houses will be completed this summer and, once finished, members of CEG’s design team will move into the three and five-bed homes and test out the living experience.
Following their feedback, improvements will be made to finesse the final product before continuing with the first phase of 112 contemporary homes, which were designed by Stirling Prize winner Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
Open plan, light and airy, offering open plan living opening out onto gardens and terraces across different floors, the homes have been designed for modern life, making everyday living refreshingly enjoyable and effortlessly cool.