Construction is facing a major skills shortage, with figures revealing that since 1990 there has been a 40% drop in the number of under 24s joining the industry. Housebuilder Crest Nicholson is committed to investing in the future by taking on a number of young apprentices each year, the most recent of which have been employed by Crest Nicholson Eastern at the company’s flagship development, Rosewood in Colchester. The project is being delivered in conjunction with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which is a major supporter of training and apprenticeships in house building and regeneration.

Jaimie Chandler, 20, an apprentice carpenter, Sam Ginns, 18, an apprentice bricklayer and Luke Bloomfield, 19, an apprentice painter and decorator, all started work on site this month.

The three apprentices, all of whom attend college part-time, work on-site four days per week learning from Crest Nicholson’s expert construction team and getting hands-on experience of working on a building site.

Jaimie Chandler says, "Although I have only been on site for three weeks, I have been impressed by the standard of workmanship and the quality of the materials being used. Crest Nicholson has given me a great opportunity to become a good tradesman in the future.”

James Moody, Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Eastern, comments: “We’re absolutely committed to investing in the future of young people in the areas in which we develop. Apprenticeships are an invaluable means of getting to grips with the skills need to work within the construction industry and we have a robust Apprenticeships training programme which aims to equip the team with all the skills they need in their chosen specialism ready for when they leave college.

“Rosewood is a particularly interesting development for the apprentices to work on, given the fact that it’s a well-known local landmark and the homes are individually designed and highly sustainable, achieving 4* under the Code for Sustainable Homes.”

Mike Goulding, Area Manager at the HCA, said: “Since its inception, the HCA has championed apprenticeship programmes and continues to encourage developers to provide opportunities for young people. We welcome Crest Nicholson’s commitment to ensuring that as well as providing high-quality family sized homes, Rosewood is also contributing to the local economy and helping to provide a skilled workforce.”

Rosewood, situated in Mill Road, Colchester, comprises 248 new homes styled in a traditional village setting with contemporary elevations.

Homes have been built to Level 4 specification in the Code for Sustainable Homes and so benefit from numerous environmentally friendly features, resulting in significantly lower running costs for the homeowner and a reduction in environmental footprint. New houses are four times more energy efficient than older properties and with rising energy bills, reducing energy usage and costs is key in a Crest Nicholson home. Research shows that residents could save approximately 75% on annual fuel costs in a four-bedroom detached house at Rosewood compared to the same form house built in the 1970s**. In addition to the more efficient heating systems, Crest homes benefit from a cheaper rate of electricity with dual rate meters. Furthermore, all installed lighting is 100% low energy.

For more information, please contact the Sales & Marketing Suite, open daily 10am-5pm and until 7pm on Thursday, at Rosewood, Mill Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 5QH on 0845 521 1985 or email  Alternatively, visit

* CITB-ConstructionSkills

** Figures for the 1970s and Code Level 4 specifications have been taken from SAP2009 Dwelling Emission Rate (DER) Worksheets