An extension to a Chester hospice is helping an award-winning builder set a target of creating 25 new apprentices in the next 12 months.
The Ewloe-based company, which recently announced a record turnover of more than £50 million for 2016 and has ongoing contracts worth over £40 million, is being backed by the hospice in their positive approach to apprenticeships from their sub-contractors.
Anwyl, North Wales’s largest private housebuilder, also plans to build 600 homes in North Wales and North West England over the next three years at a cost of £40 million.
In addition to their own 150-strong workforce they employ up to 350 sub-contractors at any one time and Anwyl construction director Tom Anwyl said: “We do have a long-standing commitment to encouraging and developing a skilled workforce through our apprenticeship schemes.
“Apprentices are the lifeblood of the business and we are very proud of the fact that 20% of our current workforce of 150 began their careers with us as apprentices and many more now run their own companies and sub-contract to us.
“It is very important that we encourage young people to take up careers in our industry and that we equip them with the right skills from the outset and when we identify sub-contractors in the areas in which we operate we do look for a similar commitment from them.
“It is important to have a skilled workforce available and that is what has helped us win important contracts so apprenticeships are vital and that is why we have set a target of 25 new apprenticeships in the next 12 months.”
The project to provide a much-needed extension to the hospice is also well advanced and will double the size of the existing building in a development which will hugely increase the service the charity provides there.
Chief executive of the hospice Steve Hoy said: “This is a vital development for us and for the community we serve but it is also important that, in partnership with our developers, we provide local work and training opportunities.
“We have an excellent partnership with Anwyl Construction and I am delighted that this major extension to the hospice has provided apprenticeship opportunities for local people.”
One Anwyl sub-contractor is A J Field Electrical, from Sandycroft, who have taken on two young apprentices recently and they have been working on the contract at Backford.
William Reade, 20, from Hoole, in Chester, is in his second year of his apprenticeship and spends one day a week at West Cheshire College. He said: “My grandad is an electrician and I’ve always wanted to follow him.
“A J Field are a really good company to work for and they’ve got lots of work so you get plenty of experience. We’re doing second fixing now and it’s great and I’m enjoying it.”
George Woodward, aged 18, from Buckley, did an engineering and electrical engineering course at Coleg Cambria, Deeside. He said: “I really enjoyed the electrical side of things.
“I had just turned 18 and I sent out a few e-mail applications and I got a call from A J Field and they asked me to start on Tuesday and it’s been really good.
“We get to do lots of different things and they do plenty of commercial and industrial work as well which is all good experience so I’m delighted to have got a chance like this.”
Managing director of A J Field Electrical and Mechanical Alan Field said: “I remember how I struggled to get an apprenticeship and I’ve always said I would encourage young people to get started so I am delighted that Anwyl are committed to apprenticeships.
“For every skilled person we have I like to bring another one through because there is a skill shortage in our industry.
“It’s also about giving something back to the community and what better way to do that than to help young people into a career and help the industry grow.”
For more on what’s happening at The Anwyl Group go to http://www.anwylconstruction.co.uk.