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Award-winning house builder Crest Nicholson has hosted a unique training day, bringing all 60 of its current apprentices together at its Sovereign Gate development in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. The apprentices were joined on site by Crest Nicholson Chief Executive Stephen Stone, who led the event.

Over the course of the day the apprentices had the opportunity to work and learn across the five distinct disciplines of Bricklayer, Carpenter, Electrician, Dryliner & Decorator, and Plumber – each led by a mentor sharing their skills and demonstrating best practice examples.

One of the apprentices attending on the day was 19-year old carpenter Richard Pomfret, who is normally based at Crest Nicholson’s Bolnore Village development in the South of England.

Richard said: “I’ve been part of the Crest Nicholson Apprentice Programme for nearly three years now, and it’s been a fantastic learning experience. One of the major benefits has been the opportunity to learn on the job and I’ve really enjoyed working with a great group of people and the satisfaction of seeing the finished product.  It’s been great to have the chance to learn about all the different disciplines and see how various techniques and skills can be put into practice to create a new home.”

Apprentices make up 10% of Crest Nicholson’s entire workforce, and investing in their future training and skills by providing practical projects and experience is a key priority for the company, which is committed to continuing its apprenticeship programme over the coming years. The apprenticeship programme has recently expanded to include a new pilot programme to offer ‘Technical Apprentices’, recognising the wider career opportunities within the construction sector.

The Apprentice Day also coincided with the launch of the Crest Nicholson Site Management Academy - a training programme designed to bring up to 12 new Trainee Site Managers into the business each year and create future Site Managers, Build Managers and Production Directors.

As Chief Executive Stephen Stone explained: “The best way to address the current skills shortage is to ensure that we build-up the industry through a new generation of workers. It is essential that we commit to developing jobs and skills at every level, and as a company we firmly advocate helping young people gain the experience and on-the-job knowledge they need. This is the only way that we can guarantee that the industry is properly equipped to move forward, that supply can properly match demand, and that we can continue to innovate and drive best practice standards right across the board.”

Crest Nicholson has been running its Apprenticeship Programme for the last five years, whereby each apprentice is offered a fixed term contract to see them through a programme of training in support of coursework requirements to gain an NVQ Level 2 and sometimes Level 3 qualification. Continuous support is offered by the local college, where training is delivered by ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry.