Applebridge Family helping close construction skills gap

Applebridge Academy's class of 2023

The Applebridge Family has announced a key partnership with Middlesbrough College which aims to close the construction sector skills gap.

The news comes as the Applebridge Academy, the educational arm of the North East and Yorkshire construction group, announced the graduation of its first cohort of students, with 14 students passing and qualifying in various fields, marking a significant milestone in the academy's journey to bridge the skills gap in the construction sector.

In celebrating the graduation of the academy’s first cohort, Andy Ray, Applebridge Group operations director, said: "It had been an aspiration to set up an academy, and I am really proud to say in only two years, it has come far with a dedicated training facility, a training manager, and now the academy's first cohort completing their studies." 

The subjects of study encompassed a diverse range, including business administration, information communication, digital marketing, accounting, bricklaying, construction in the built environment, construction management and civil engineering. 

An event was held at Middlesbrough Football Club to commemorate the achievements of the students.

Applebridge’s partnership with Middlesbrough College comes as part of a continued pursuit of excellence in education and workforce development. 

Serving as a delivery partner, the Middlesbrough headquartered firm will offer various groundwork and construction groundworks qualifications. 

These qualifications will be available to adults seeking to retrain and those embarking on careers in the construction industry.

In its inaugural year, the academy's partnership with Middlesbrough College anticipates training more than 70 students aged 19-plus seeking to reskill and commence their construction careers. 

All training activities will take place at Applebridge’s dedicated training facility, Imperial Park, designed to offer a true-to-life site experience for students.

Greg Chapman, Applebridge Academy manager, commented: "We are committed to providing high-quality training and real-world experiences. 

“Together with Middlesbrough College, we are poised to equip aspiring adults and young talents with essential groundwork qualifications, enabling them to embark on rewarding careers in the construction industry. This collaboration reflects our shared vision and unwavering commitment to shaping the future of skilled professionals."

The training provided by Applebridge includes various essential aspects of the construction sector, including groundworks, street works, health and safety awareness (inclusive of CSCS card certification), and first aid at work training.

Among the features of Imperial Park is a street works training area, created to replicate real-world environments, complete with street lighting columns and utility services. 

Additionally, the facility boasts a dedicated groundwork area for hands-on experience in block paving, flagging, reinstatement, internal and external drainage.

Complementing these tailored environments are state-of-the-art internal facilities, including classrooms and welfare areas, facilitating theoretical instruction while students remain on-site.

Stuart Miller, board member for Construction Alliance North East, a lobbying organisation which campaigns for improved opportunities in the sector, and director for CECA North East, said: “The partnership between Applebridge Family and Middlesbrough College is exactly the type of intervention that the construction industry needs to address skills shortages in our sector. 

“By providing real-world experience, skills and industry relevant (CSCS) certification, the partnership will allow successful students to seamlessly join a thriving industry and take advantage not just of the jobs of today, but the careers of tomorrow. 

“Construction and civil engineering can offer opportunities for anyone with its diverse range of roles and unique projects.

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