A Riverside partnership project has provided hands-on training to students who have helped build 50 homes on a new estate.
The £7m housing development in Carlisle has been delivered by social housing provider Riverside in partnership with Carlisle City Council, Esh Construction, and Carlisle College.
The programme has helped upskill local young people by providing practical onsite training for students and apprentices, while also helping to deliver new affordable homes for rent.
Hannah Camm is studying a bricklaying course at the college and laid bricks to one of the first homes built.
She said: “This partnership project has allowed me to develop the skills that I’ve been learning at college alongside working on a building site, and I’ve enjoyed it.
“I worked beside three people who helped me develop my building skills to give that invaluable practical experience, which will help me secure work in the future.
“Working on a building site has also enabled me to showcase the role of females in the construction industry, which is something that I am passionate about.”
Sarah Paton, Riverside’s regional director for the north, added: “This project demonstrates successful joint partnership work by all involved which we can adopt on future developments.
“This includes the social value aspect, providing hands-on work experience for construction students and apprentices, that we hope will help address the skills shortage in the area.”
Eight construction students and apprentices were able to gain practical onsite training by doing nine-week placements a few days a week in painting, decorating, plastering, bricklaying, joinery, plumbing, and electrics to develop their skills to help secure future employment.
“Employers are looking for skilled people, so this work experience has benefited students to not only gain hands-on training but also develop life skills to boost their employability prospects,” says Matty McLeish, from Carlisle College.
While Gary Dobson, divisional director at Esh Construction, explains: “This format has provided students a more-rounded training experience that is required for the construction industry.
“It has given them a better insight into how a site operates, so students were able to take what they have learnt at college and apply it on site, then take what they’ve learnt back to the classroom.”
The development benefits from £1.4m grant funding from Homes England, as Carlisle City Council identified the need for more properties for affordable rent in the area.
Riverside welcomed Impact Housing to the Group in 2018, and as part of Riverside’s commitment to support their development programme the new estate will be managed by Impact.
Andrea Thorn, managing director at Impact Housing, said: “This project has been a great opportunity for us to create training placements for local students to develop their skills with practical learning on a construction site.
“This has helped upskill and retain talent for the local economy.”
The Beverley Rise development provides a mixture of two-, three- and four-bedroomed properties to accommodate various sized families to meet demand in Carlisle.
“Affordable housing is critical for the city as it expands. It’s still important to have good quality family accommodation, and Beverley Rise is what we need for the city going forward,” explained Cllr Paul Nedved, portfolio holder for Economy, Enterprise, and Housing at Carlisle City Council.
The timescales of the project were pushed back when the COVID pandemic took hold last March.
However, Esh Construction put procedures in place to provide a COVID-safe working environment, and it was completed within the timeframe.
John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, added: “Riverside and Impact are two very important providers for housing in Carlisle. This new development provides new family homes at a time when they are needed most in the area.
“This isn’t just about housing but about training and to give the next generation the skills in construction to shape their careers and provide opportunities.”
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