Up-skilling for the future takes centre stage as local MP Chris Grayling visits innovative Noble Park eco-homes

Rt. Hon Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell, was last week out in his local constituency paying a visit to Crest Nicholson’s Noble Park development, situated on the outskirts of Epsom. Emerging from a leafy enclave in a discrete corner of this sought after development are five cutting-edge eco-friendly homes, which are among the first of their kind to be delivered in the UK. Mr Grayling enjoyed a special tour of the homes and demonstration of the innovative technologies underlying their delivery, prior to them being released for sale to the general public in the coming months.

Under the title AIMC4*, the homes are being delivered as part of a wider consortium project created to research and build mass-market carbon efficient homes which optimise the fabric of the building. The project is supported by funding from the Technology Strategy Board and the outcome will be the development of a series of low energy, easy to maintain and cost effective homes for the future.

As Chris Grayling said following the tour: “I was really impressed by the way in which energy efficient house building is evolving, and it’s great to see a local development at the forefront of new technology. Noble Park will be a great place to live, and it’s clearly going to have some very low energy bills as well.”

With a range of new technologies, materials and techniques being put into practice at Noble Park, the site has also provided a valuable training ground for those entering the construction industry. Crest Nicholson currently employs 40 apprentices, making up 8% of its total workforce, and the chance to develop their trade at such a unique site as Noble Park has enabled them to learn some of the skills necessary for delivering low carbon homes in line with the government’s 2016 zero-carbon commitment.

The subject is one that is of particular interest to Mr Grayling, who is also Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions. As Crest Nicholson Chief Executive Stephen Stone, who accompanied Mr Grayling on his visit, explained:

“The construction industry employs nearly one tenth of the entire UK workforce, and as such is a major driver for recovery and growth. Continued investment in the sector is essential, and a focus on creating homes, jobs and skills is vital for the future of the economy.

“We take great pride in helping young people to gain the experience and on-the-job knowledge they need to develop in this industry, not only by increasing the number of apprentices we take on, but also by ensuring they have the right training opportunities and access to the right mentors. Working on the groundbreaking new homes at Noble Park has provided an unparalleled opportunity for our apprentices to be at the cutting edge of developing new construction techniques and technologies, and their positive attitude and appetite for learning demonstrates a genuine commitment to their apprenticeship and future career.”

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