Leading trade retailer, Screwfix, has partnered with Yeovil College to launch a pilot course covering core construction skills for year 10 and 11 pupils. The course aims to educate young people about a successful future in the trade before leaving school.
The Screwfix Construction Trade Academy course has launched at a time when there is a widely reported construction skills gap and is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK. The 16 students studying the course will learn the foundations of bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry and electrical contracting.
The Screwfix Construction Trade Academy course is City & Guilds qualified and will see the students gain valuable skills, as well as adding to their GCSEs and help towards gaining an apprenticeship after leaving school.
As part of Screwfix’s commitment to support the future of construction, the retailer has also invested in a new purpose-built site at the College. Work has started on the new ‘Screwfix Trade Skills Centre’ which will see the students benefit from a dedicated space, specifically designed to meet the needs of the future tradespeople training there. The centre will open in December and features two state-of-the-art work training areas, which have been designed to enable Yeovil College to meet the needs of its local and regional industries. With each training area having the capacity to train up to 20 students/apprentices at any one time, the students will attend the college for half day weekly sessions to give them a taster of life in the trades.
Graham Smith, Marketing Director at Screwfix, comments: “Our trade customers tell us how busy they are but that they also struggle to recruit skilled labourers and don’t always find it easy to hire apprentices. The skills shortage facing the construction trades is widely talked about, therefore the partnership with Yeovil College is one of the ways we’re supporting tradespeople and playing a small part in protecting the future skills supply in construction, while demonstrating how interesting and rewarding a career in the trade can be.
“We’re looking forward to the opening of the site and seeing how the students progress on the course. We wish them all the best!”
John Evans, Principal at Yeovil College, adds: “It’s great to have the support of Screwfix for our new construction skills course and purpose-built skills centre. It is important we train young people in the area to ensure there is no local skills gap, and this centre will go some way towards this. We believe the new students will learn the foundations for a career in the construction trade and we hope they find the opportunity rewarding.”
In addition to its work with Yeovil College, Screwfix also offers support to the future of the trade through its annual Trade Apprentice competition, a nationwide search for the brightest apprentices. The campaign will return early in 2018. Screwfix also helps tradespeople overcome some of the perceived barriers associated with taking on an apprentice by offering ‘Your Guide to Hiring an Apprentice’; a bitesize booklet available for free online at Screwfix.com.