Hull’s first “real-life” bricklaying apprenticeship Training Hub opens to combat the national skills gap and housing shortage

A new apprenticeship Training Hub in Bransholme officially opens.

A new apprenticeship Training Hub in Bransholme which will deliver the next generation of skilled house builders in the North of England has been unveiled by NHBC, the UK’s leading new home warranty and insurance provider.

The NHBC Training Hub, which opened on Thursday 12 October 2023, is in partnership with EN:Able Futures, a flexi-job apprenticeship provider and part of Efficiency North Holdings. Training 50 apprentices all year round to qualify in as little as 18 months, the facility equipped with classrooms, welfare and catering facilities will provide apprentices with a realistic working environment and initially focus on bricklaying.

Speaking at the opening, NHBC CEO, Steve Wood said: “Bricklaying is at the heart of traditional housebuilding and a hugely important skill. In recent years, housebuilders have found it more challenging to recruit bricklayers for a range of reasons. I’m proud NHBC and its dedicated and industry-experienced tutors are committed to supporting the next generation of house builders, equipping them with the skills to build high-quality new homes and helping to close the skills gap and housing shortage faster. Bricklaying can be a fantastic pathway into a rewarding, well-paid career and not everyone realises how in demand these skills are. NHBC’s apprenticeships are for everyone and we’re delighted to see people from all backgrounds, including school leavers, career changers and women wanting to work in house building, coming through. It’s never too late to learn a new skill!”

Since becoming a registered apprenticeship provider in 2020, around 400 people have progressed through NHBC’s bricklaying and construction site supervisor programmes. The courses have been designed with input from across the industry to make sure they meet the needs of employers and employees alike.

Lee Parkinson, chief executive of Efficiency North, said: “As an organisation, we are continually striving to provide better opportunities for the North of England, and the partnership we have established in launching the NHBC Training Hub is pivotal to our offering.

“It’s not only about supporting individuals through their bricklaying apprenticeships to gain a qualification, but it’s also equally important that they have the skills and knowledge to translate what they learn into a real site environment – which is what the hub does so well. We can’t wait to welcome the first cohort and bring more experts to the industry.”

Alice Clay, 18, from Patrington, Hull recently gained her level 2 bricklaying apprenticeship at an NHBC Training Hub and enjoyed it as an alternative to the more traditional college option.

At today’s opening, Alice said: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school. I was going to do a course at college, but I hated sitting down at school all day and knew I wanted a practical job, so the NHBC apprenticeship was perfect. There’s a lot to learn but the NHBC Training Hub means I can learn each part and apply it immediately back on site. I initially started with five weeks at the Training Hub and then I was ready to go on site and put into practice the knowledge and skills I’d learnt. I’d then come back to the Hub, learn more and be focused and confident to go back onto site again which was great. I get all the support and feedback I need from my tutor. It makes a real difference he’s worked in the industry for years himself. I’ve enjoyed meeting lots of new people too and, of course, I’m getting paid whilst I’m learning, plus I now have a skill for life.

“I’ve not been treated any differently just because I’m a female bricklayer. It hasn’t made a difference or affected me in any way – why should it? I’d say to any girl leaving school or woman looking to change career - go for it! You can earn brilliant money and more women are getting into the house-building industry as it has great career prospects which people don’t always realise. After I qualify, I’ve already got a job lined up as a self-employed bricklayer as part of a gang and eventually, I’d like to work my way up into a management role.”

This Hub based in Wawne Road is the fourth dedicated training facility built by NHBC with others based in Tamworth, Newcastle and Cambridge. Today’s opening strengthens NHBC’s core purpose to raise standards in house building by championing high-quality homes.

The Author

Written by EN:Able Futures