Gary Streeter, Member of Parliament for South West Devon, officially opened Sherford's new £370,000 Skills Training Centre, celebrating the occasion alongside key dignitaries, the Sherford Consortium, local training providers and construction contractors at the new development.
Based at Sherford, and already welcoming its first trainees, the one-of-a-kind facility marks a major, long-term commitment to addressing and reducing the region's skills challenge. The training centre will engage military veterans, apprentices, local contractors, as well as those currently working at Sherford, boosting manual skills by providing training and experience across numerous trades.
The training centre boasts two classrooms, a workshop and an outdoor training area, providing trainees with the opportunity to learn at the heart of one of the region's largest new developments. Those using the training centre will be supported by expert onsite teams and teaching staff, as well as a dedicated training centre co-ordinator based at the facility.
As part of the Sherford Skills Training Scheme, the training centre will engage a variety of users, including individuals and sub-contractors already working at Sherford. It will also be used by those looking to retrain or learn new skills, with 60% of this group expected to be former members of the Armed Forces, providing training and practical experience to help them develop professionally.
The development of the training centre has been funded by the Sherford Consortium, the network of national homebuilders responsible for the new community, Bovis Homes, Linden Homes and Taylor Wimpey. Following a competitive bid process led by the Consortium and key delivery partners – City College Plymouth, South Devon College and Plymouth Construction Training Group – the training centre was also awarded funding from The Construction Industry Trading Board (CITB), set to be distributed over three years.
It is hoped that the centre will not only boost skills on site at Sherford, but also create a lasting legacy by improving the region's economic growth and employment landscape.
Gary Streeter Member of Parliament for South West Devon said: “I am delighted to support the opening of the new Sherford Training Centre which is another reflection on how the community at Sherford is now firmly up and running. It will provide important resources and training for people wishing to work in the construction sector. It is critical that we train up a new generation of construction workers and skilled tradesmen if we are to meet the infrastructure challenges of our country. This is an important initiative.”
Emma Comber, Sherford's new Training Centre Co-ordinator said: “The training centre provides a unique opportunity to learn and train at one of the largest construction sites in the region. We have worked with the Sherford Consortium and local contractors, as well as the CITB, to identify the skills most in demand across the industry, with the centre providing a hub for people from all backgrounds to retrain, refresh or upskill - achieving recognised industry qualifications.”
Ian Pugsley, Taylor Wimpey, member of the Sherford Consortium and lead developer for the training centre, said: “We are committed to providing skills and training which will have a positive impact across the region, working with local businesses, contractors and workers to deliver a training centre which meets all of their needs.
“As well as being one of the South West's largest new developments, it is also one of the most innovative, and we require skilled workers to help proudly deliver the high-quality homes required. By basing the training centre at Sherford, attendees can also learn how a construction site of this size operates, while acquiring the skills and training needed to succeed and progress professionally, supporting the region's economic growth and development.”
Devon County Council Leader, John Hart, said: “I'm sure everyone's pleased that trainees are already making use of the training centre and hopefully it will provide all important skills for future construction workers in Devon. It highlights the long term thinking behind the Sherford development to help support the continuing economic growth of our county.”
Cllr Michael Hicks, Lead Member for Sherford at South Hams District Council, said: “I'm thrilled to see the Skills Training Centre opened. It really is a fantastic opportunity for young people, service veterans and those already employed in the construction industry. It's more evidence that Sherford is developing into not just another collection of houses, but a living, breathing community with an eye on the future.”