Higgins Construction has announced that it will be taking on 26 new apprentices across its sites in North London. The announcement comes on the back of National Apprenticeship Week (14th to 18th March) which is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and traineeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider community.
Steve Leakey, Managing Director for Higgins Construction comments, “As a company we are extremely committed to employing apprentices from the local area and are pleased to be able to offer a further 26 places on one of our new sites, including Kings Crescent in Hackney and King Square in Islington throughout 2016.
“With an acute shortage of labour, apprentices are the future for the construction industry. With the growing need for more new homes, we needs more people to keep up with the demand. The apprenticeship places will range across a number of disciplines including bricklayers, carpentry, electrician, site management and resident liaison officers.”
One apprentice already working for Higgins at their Kings Crescent site is Mark Julian, who joined in June 2015 under the London Borough of Hackney’s local labour initiative programme. Mark comments, “Before the opportunity to work with Higgins arose, I was unemployed for a rather lengthy period of time and getting support from the job centre to seek full time employment.
“Within my role, I am able to attend Hackney Community College one day a week studying towards my NVQ Level Two in plumbing and I work four days on site. I am part of a trade, which helps install the mechanical elements of the buildings. This is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. When you think of a building coming up from the ground using nothing more than mere man power and materials – and then withstand time – this is something truly amazing and to know I am part of the community development is fantastic.
“I would definitely recommend the scheme. I have gained my confidence and I am highly motivated, I would recommend the local labour programme to anyone who has goals and want to achieve their potential in the construction industry”.
2.4 million apprenticeships were started in England during the last Parliament and there were more than 250,000 employer workplaces with an apprentice in 2014/2015. After finishing, the majority of apprentices (90%) stay in employment (including 2% self employed), with seven in ten (71%) staying with the same employer. A quarter of former apprentices had been promoted (23%) within 12 months of finishing.
Work started at Kings Crescent in late 2014 to increase the number of Council homes for social renting from 195 to 275, renovating 101 existing ones to beyond the Decent Homes standard, as well as building 115 new homes for shared ownership and 376 for private sale to help pay for all the works in the absence of government funding. Higgins Group is working on the first phase of the five year programme to develop 273 new build properties and external refurbishment works to a further 101 homes.
Kings Crescent is part of Hackney Council’s borough-wide programme to deliver 2,760 homes across several estates.