The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Training Hub, which officially opened in December 2022, has been built in partnership with award-winning housebuilder Keepmoat, New Tyne West Development Company (NTWDC), Newcastle City Council and North of Tyne Combined Authority.
With an initial focus on bricklaying, the purpose-built facility equipped with classrooms, welfare and catering facilities provides apprentices with a realistic working environment and strengthens NHBC’s core purpose of raising house building standards by championing high-quality homes.
During his visit on Thursday 23 November 2023, Mayor Driscoll spoke to apprentices who demonstrated their skills and supported the mayor to try bricklaying for himself.
Speaking about his visit, Jamie Driscoll, The North of Tyne Mayor, said: “Bricklaying is a practical skill in high demand. NHBC is doing a great job of training apprentices. Developing the construction skills and experience we need in our region. Apprentices are learning on the job at this state-of-art skills hub. We are working with them to get houses built and we continue to help create quality homes that local people desperately need.”
The training hub is the second of four dedicated training facilities built by NHBC and forms part of the insurance and warranty provider’s commitment to supporting the next generation of house builders, equipping them with the skills to build high quality new homes. It has the capacity to train up to 80 apprentices all year round in a “real-life” environment and has numerous cohort intakes throughout the year.
Darryl Stewart, responsible for NHBC’s apprentice training programme and hubs, said: “Bricklaying is at the heart of house building and is a hugely important skill. In recent years house builders have found it more challenging to recruit bricklayers for a range of reasons – bricklaying has been seen as a less attractive early careers option, an ageing workforce has seen the overall number of bricklayers diminishing and training opportunities, such as bricklaying apprenticeships, have reduced. We must find ways to encourage more people to come into house building, with bricklaying being an excellent pathway into a rewarding and well-paid career.
“The NHBC training hubs are a key component of our ongoing commitment to support the next generation of house builders, equipping them with the skills to build high-quality new homes. The hubs offer a realistic work environment, expert trainers and an apprenticeship can be completed in as little as 18 months. NHBC’s apprenticeships are for everyone, and we’re delighted to see people from all backgrounds coming through the hub in Scotswood, including school leavers, career changers and women wanting to work in house building. It’s never too late to learn a new skill!”
Speaking about the visit, Ian Worgan, Regional Managing Director at Keepmoat, North East added: “As we reach the first full year of operations at NHBC’s state-of-the-art training hub, we are absolutely delighted with the tremendous impact it has already made in providing critical skills, training and job opportunities for local young people, students, and job seekers.
“As a centralised delivery model that encourages young people into the world of construction, the training hub provides a blueprint for other major developments across the country. By investing in skills and opportunities, the hub demonstrates how regeneration projects can positively transform lives whilst developing a robust talent pipeline to combat the national skills shortage.”
Since becoming a registered apprenticeship provider in 2020, around 400 people have progressed through NHBC’s bricklaying and construction site supervisor programmes. The courses have been designed with input from across the industry to make sure they meet the needs of employers and employees alike.