As he welcomed the first apprentices to a brickwork academy, the Housing Minister encouraged young people to consider a career in construction.
]According to Lewis, the sector was booming again as a result of efforts to rebuild the country, and this represented a “great opportunity to carve out a successful and well-paid career.”
The housing industry was devastated by the 2008 economic downturn, which resulted in the loss of a quarter-million construction jobs.
However, the government has prioritised housebuilding in its long-term economic plan, resulting in a revival of the sector, with housebuilding levels now more than doubling those seen in 2009.
The Housing Minister issued the rallying cry for children while attending an open day at Derby College’s Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy ahead of its official launch next week.
“For the last five years, our efforts have gotten Britain building,” said Housing Minister Brandon Lewis. This means that thousands of jobs are now available – positions that provide a great opportunity to build a successful and well-paying career.
“The Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy is a fantastic example of how to inspire and develop a new generation of talented, ambitious, highly skilled bricklayers – nurturing our home-grown talent and building the homes we need for years to come.”
During his visit, Lewis spoke with several new students about their goals and met with academy founder Ian Hodgkinson, who was inspired to establish the training facility due to a shortage of qualified bricklayers in the area.
The father of three is a 30-year construction industry veteran, having started out as a builder and bricklayer before launching a successful construction company in 1990.
“This is a crucial area for the economy,” said Ian Hodgkinson, managing director of Hodgkinson Builders, “and I am absolutely delighted that the minister has taken the time to visit us and see what we are doing here.”
“We’ve got ambitious young people seeing that a career in bricklaying and construction in general is rewarding, and it’s fantastic to be working on this academy with such a forward-thinking organisation as Derby College.”
“Together, we can rebuild Britain, beginning with the ambitious young men and women who can carve out a fantastic career.”
The academy, which will be run in collaboration with Derby College, will have campuses in Ilkeston and the Roundhouse in Pride Park. Over 100 potential recruits attended an open day in June, indicating that it is already in high demand.
Mr Hodgkinson and his team will provide individual support and mentoring to students at the academy. Following completion of the one or two-year courses, they will gain practical work experience and will be guaranteed an interview with his company.
April Hayhurst, Derby College’s business development director, stated, “The response to the Hodgkinson Brick Academy has been outstanding, and we are confident that a significant number of new learners will join the programme this September at both our Derby and Ilkeston campuses.”
“As a college, our role is to ensure that young people are prepared for the workforce and have the skills that employers require to grow and increase their competitive edge.”