Construction firm Bowmer & Kirkland (B&K) has been recognised for an award-winning skills and apprenticeship scheme which has offered work and experience to hundreds of young people.
The Derbyshire-based company was awarded a contract to build new facilities for New College Nottingham at its Basford Hall campus
The £27m project received two awards at last week’s East Midlands’ Property Dinner – Construction Project of the Year and Skills and Apprenticeship Scheme of the Year for B&K.
The firm was awarded the accolade thanks to its efforts in creating an important focal point for training and personal development in an area with high unemployment.
Basford Hall is surrounded by some of Nottingham’s most deprived areas: 44 per cent of 16-64-year-olds are not in employment and only 62 per cent are economically active. Working closely with their sub-contractors and Nottingham Job Hub, B&K put a work experience and apprenticeship scheme in place, with some tough targets.
Through the Hub’s Sector Based Work Academy, the scheme achieved 758 actual person weeks for apprentices who were new to construction, 80 actual person weeks for work experience for over 19s and delivered 1,354 actual person weeks in new vacancies purely created by the construction project.
The scheme helped New College introduce its construction students to a live site. They were able to learn about their subject in the classroom and then put that into practice on the project – helping to build their own new facilities.
Not only did Bowmer & Kirkland’s scheme facilitate almost 2,200 weeks of work, experience or learning for a large group of young people, it was also the catalyst for securing long-term work and permanent positions for some of them.
At the end of the project, more than 200 of the participants were still in their post and looking forward to a brighter future, thanks to the scheme.
I have always been proud of the numerous awards that Bowmer and Kirkland has received for construction excellence, but the award we received at the East Midlands Property Dinner, for ‘Skills and Apprenticeship Scheme of the Year,’ was special – John Kirkland, Bowmer & Kirkland Chairman
Bowmer & Kirkland Chairman, John Kirkland, said: “I have always been proud of the numerous awards that Bowmer and Kirkland has received for construction excellence, but the award we received at the East Midlands Property Dinner, for ‘Skills and Apprenticeship Scheme of the Year,’ was special.
“This was awarded for the best apprenticeship or other training scheme in the East Midlands and, in announcing us as the winner, the statement was that ‘not only did Bowmer and Kirkland upskill its own workforce, it also created an important focal point for training and helped to transform the culture of the College’.
“We worked extremely hard with our supply chain, New College Nottingham and Nottingham City Council to provide thousands of hours of work experience and paid work, some of which led to full time apprenticeships for the students and this was a very worthwhile and satisfying project. We are really pleased to have been able to help so many young people at the start of their careers.”
The new campus has been specially designed to provide a training experience which is as close to the real thing as possible. There are 15 workshops, each focused on a different trade, and kitted out to provide high quality training. Some of the workshops will be double height to enable the college to recreate real-world working environments such as ceiling and roof work.
The new building was handed over to the college in July 2015. Full-time courses available include: plastering, plumbing, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, welding, construction technologies and electrical engineering.
Director of Property and Facilities, Debbie Callaghan added: “It’s fantastic that the Basford Hall building has won these accolades. Students love the building and the facilities that it offers. Thank you to everyone who was involved in its creation, it really has been a team project and one which will help improve the learning for generations to come.”