Gloucestershire’s new near £2 million AccXel construction skills centre is being championed for its potential to create new jobs in the county by the steering committee appointed to drive it forward.
Lindsey Young, who has helped shape electrical contractor Clarkson Evans, one of the county’s biggest construction firms and training success stories, is one of those named as part of the new team.
The centre was part of an £11.3 million grand reveal by GFirst LEP which helped lift some of the gloom of the pandemic in August 2020, as it won money from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.
Ms Young, chief operating officer at the Staverton-based electrical contractor since 2018, said: ‘It’s an honour to be involved in steering a project that’s set to make such a positive difference to construction training, not just in Gloucestershire but possibly on a much broader scale
‘It’s certainly an ambitious venture and I know lots of businesses in the sector will be keen to benefit from the new training centre. For young people, the project has the capacity to open doors to very rewarding long-term careers.’
Nicola Bird, AccXel’s founder and managing director, will be overseeing the project on behalf of Bell Construction, which is co-funding and building the centre on its doorstep in Cinderford.
She is also joined on the steering committee by Natalie Bell, business growth and partnership manager at AccXel, Peter White, business development manager at University of Gloucestershire, Ben Ramsay, managing director at Barnwood Construction, Rob Jenkins, careers hub manager at GFirst LEP and Andy Bates, chief financial officer at Gloucestershire College.
Ms Bird says: “We’re proud to have brought together a great team of experienced people from some of the region’s most forward-thinking construction companies and education providers.”
Aiming to welcome its first learners through its doors in January 2022, KW Bell Group is working in collaboration with Gloucestershire College and the University of Gloucestershire, and with support from local employers in England and Wales and industry representatives including global giant JCB.
“The construction industry has a serious skills shortage, both nationally and regionally, so it is vital that we act now to inspire, train and connect construction workers with forward-thinking employers and educators,” said Ms Bird.
The project is expected to deliver five new full-time jobs to staff the centre; 200 CITB and other industry-recognised qualifications in its first year, rising to 500 by year six; 26 completed apprenticeships in its second year, rising to 40 per year from year three; and 100 Key Stage 4 pupils per year attending its ‘introduction to construction’ programme, rising to 500 in year six.
The centre aims to welcome its first learners through its doors in January 2022.
By Andrew Merrell