Organised by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), and Derry Construction, the minister became a joinery apprentice to demonstrate his support for apprenticeships and find out more about the training and skills involved in modern construction.
At Derry Construction in Harrogate yesterday, Mr Jones was given a tour of the site and workshop, introduced to the various stages of the manufacturing process and tried his hand at the different stages in production. He also met with three of Derry Construction’s four apprentices currently undertaking joinery training to hear about how they became apprentices and their experience to date.
Mr Jones said:
I really enjoyed experiencing first-hand what a joinery apprenticeship involves. Apprenticeships play a vital role in providing lasting and successful careers in construction and apprentices bring many benefits to employers like Derry Construction. It’s never been more important to support and encourage more young people and employers to participate in and develop apprenticeships.
Maria O’Sullivan, CITB’s regional area manager said:
Apprenticeships are increasingly important with 230,000 new roles coming into the construction industry in the next five years. Apprenticeship numbers are on the rise but we need even more. CITB has launched a new recruitment campaign called Go Construct to promote construction careers and help bolster those numbers.
I hope that by working with the minister and Derry Construction today, we can encourage other employers in the region to support more apprenticeships or take on an apprentice for the first time.
Derry Construction is a committed supporter of apprenticeships, with current apprentices making up over 20 per cent of its workforce.
Shane Derry MD, Derry Construction commented:
Apprenticeships are vital to our success. There is simply no substitute for the on-site experience an apprenticeship offers. Having a strong apprenticeship programme give us the opportunity to build and continue to grow the skilled workforce that gives us that competitive edge crucial to our business success.
Mr Derry, who is also the Harrogate and York Association’s President for the National Federation of Builders, said:
I think Mr Jones enjoyed his time on site and hope he can continue to work hard with CITB to ensure ongoing backing for this important industry and the skills we need to grow.
CITB is working to improve the image of apprenticeships, support progression routes in the sector and increase employer participation in apprenticeship delivery.
To find out more about construction apprenticeships and opportunities in the sector go to: www.gocontruct.org