Keepmoat Takes on Apprentices in Construction on Central Park in Darlington

In News, on the 10th, March 2015

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Housing and regeneration specialist Keepmoat has partnered with local authorities to construct the £170 million Central Park development of 327 two, three and four bedroom homes on the site of the former Council depot in Darlington.

The 27 acre site is located less than half a mile away from Darlington town centre and a stone’s throw away from Darlington College. Keepmoat has partnered with the college and taken on a number of Apprentices at the development in a bid to plug the skills gap in the region’s construction industry.

In an industry often associated with a male centric focus, one of the Apprentices includes 17 year old Emily Leckie from Darlington who is bucking the trend, and has enrolled on a Level 1 NVQ in Joinery. Emily is also joined on site by 17 year old Jason Pape from Newton Aycliffe, who has enrolled on a Level 1 NVQ in Bricklaying. From the town centre is 19 year old Jack Riley who will be undertaking a Level 2 Business Admin Apprenticeship.

Darlington College and Keepmoat are committed to gearing up the apprentices to a career in the construction industry, which is seeing a huge resurgence in the area recently following recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. The college is hosting a National Apprenticeship Week event on the 12th March to mark the achievement.

The site is extremely well served by local amenities as it is a short walk from the town centre and the train station. The regeneration in the vicinity of Central Park includes Teesside University, Darlington College, The Horizon Centre, and The National Biological Centre.

One of Keepmoat’s contract managers at the site – Peter Gallagher, has been with Keepmoat for 10 years, and has a personal connection with the area. He attended Darlington College in the 70’s and like Emily, took out an apprenticeship in joinery. He comments: “Apprenticeship schemes have taken a knock recently in the wake of the financial crisis. But lately, the North East has seen a huge resurgence in the number of projects which has increased demand. The apprentices taken on by Keepmoat are amongst the best placed in the county and we can’t wait to help them on their way to becoming future leaders of the construction industry.”

One of the Apprentices, Emily Leckie, was keen to get on board with the plans. She comments: “I can’t wait to look back on this project and say, ‘I helped to regenerate Darlington’, the site looks great and is going to totally transform Darlington’s appearance.”

Jane Wilson from Darlington College comments: “We need employers to recognise the value of taking on an Apprentice and the difference it can make to your business. Young people in this town need more opportunities like the ones Keepmoat is providing.”

“The college is a key stakeholder in the regeneration in the wider context of Central Park and we’re delighted that Keepmoat plans to not only regenerate the site through housebuilding, but also through their creation of local jobs, and their partnership with our students”.

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