Happy First Birthday to Futureworks (Yorkshire)!

The Futureworks Yorkshire team were delighted to welcome over 70 invited guests from the regional construction industry and wider community to a special event celebrating their first year in operation on 19 June at Pontefract Racecourse.

Futureworks Directors Mark Scott, Tracey Dervey and Catherine Bishop hosted the day’s proceedings, welcoming guest speakers Keith Watkins, Account Services Manager at CITB, and Ian Billyard, Principal of Leeds College of Building. Keith, Mark and Ian all highlighted that the industry has reached a critical point in time to address a growing skills gap in the sector as the country begins to rise back from the 6-year economic recession. 400,000 jobs have been lost across the sector and it’s anticipated that an additional 182,000 jobs will be needed by 2018. The Shared Apprenticeship Scheme model has been devised to address this issue, harnessing procurement to identify demand and appropriate skills gaps and pinpoint deliver appropriate skills training and identify placement opportunities so that an apprentice does not suffer from displacement when a construction project they’re hired for is complete.

Futureworks Yorkshire already has a lot to celebrate. Delivering the YORfuture Shared Apprenticeship Scheme in partnership with CITB and YORhub, the 1 year old CIC (Community Interest Company) has already taken on 30 apprentices and will be recruiting an additional 54 to place with contractors engaged in the YORbuild and EN Procure frameworks projects from August 2014. 7 of the first 30 apprentices have already progressed into full time employment and long term careers. Working with Efficiency North and the Re:allies Partnership, Futureworks has also been able to connect social landlord members with local apprenticeship opportunities, placing apprentices within the goods supply and manufacturing supply chain.

In recognition of the work accomplished to date the YORfuture model was awarded this year’s ‘Committed to Training Award’ in the CIOB Committed to Construction in West Yorkshire Awards 2014.

The key speakers were followed by first-hand accounts from construction contractors and consultants employing apprentices through the YORfuture scheme, Henry Boot Construction, BAM and Rider Levitt Bucknall, and the apprentices themselves. YORhub and Efficiency North apprentice Evan Williams has just completed his NVQ Level 2 qualification and was happy to describe the positive effects his apprenticeship has had not only on improving his marketing skills but also his ‘life skills’.

Mark Scott, Futureworks Yorkshire Director commented;

“The work of Futureworks(Yorkshire) and the YORfuture shared apprenticeship scheme has clearly had a positive impact on both the local communities and the construction sector. The model was 4 years in planning and we find it very rewarding to know that the effort and investment we are putting in is showing real results. The continued success, however, requires continued partnership working to avoid a tick box approach to apprenticeships and skills. Futureworks(Yorkshire) will continue developing real solutions to fulfil real need.”