Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh has unveiled a construction trade revolution at the heart of the UK’s city of brick’s £1 billion regeneration ambitions.
The Ground Force star told guests at the opening of the new Screwfix carbon neutral warehouse and store at Brookfield Trade Park, Lincoln Road. Peterborough, PE4 6LA, how a group of construction students rebuilt the abandoned 1960s office block under a scheme which is fast-tracking trainees into the burgeoning construction industry.
Engineering Real Results, the largest trades training organisation in the UK, has been buying up neglected and derelict properties in a multi-million pound move giving tradespeople of all ages a way round restrictive Government legislation which forces them to beg for unpaid work.
And now, the offices they have rebuilt from the wreckage are destined to house Screwfix’s first carbon neutral warehouse and shop.
The scheme is highlighted after Philip Hammond said in his Budget speech that the government will build 300,000 new homes a year. But the chancellor said there was no “single magic bullet” to increase housing supply.
But Ground Force star Tommy said: “The Government’s commitment to building hundreds of thousands of homes is threatened by skill shortages. Britain has plenty of young people ready to build a new life for their families by learning a trade but they come up against a brick wall when it comes to completing their skills-set – they need practical experience to prove they can do the job and they find it very difficult to get.”
It is 25 years since Peterborough was designated as one of four UK environment cities and nine years since Peterborough City Council adopted the target of creating the UK’s ‘Environment Capital’. The city is said to be well on its way to meeting its target for air quality.
So, in its own way Engineering Real Results own battle to clean-up legislation hampering construction growth is contributing to the streamlined and modern vision of the future adopted by the city. The scheme allows the trade students to comply with Government rules which demand apprentices carry out 100 hours practical training.
Now they can complete their qualifications in as little as six weeks rather than years.
Dr Telensky, the financial angel behind the scheme, said there have been thousands of new construction jobs this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets – but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because of the legislation.