Eight young people have been taken on as apprentices at The Rise in Scotswood, the largest housing-led regeneration scheme in the North East.
Joining construction partners, Barratt Homes North East and Keepmoat Homes, are trainee bricklayers Connor Summerville, 17, from Scotswood; Michael Connor, 20 and Ryan Godomski, 19, both from Gosforth and trainee joiners Taylor Robson, 16, from Newcastle; Neil Bulloch, 18, from Benwell and Jamie Tulip, 19, from Walbottle.
Said Connor: “I saw a mobile van advertising the pre-apprenticeship course and decided to sign up for it. It was great to be given the opportunity to build a career and now I’m enjoying being kept busy and of course, earning some wages.”
Neil added: “I heard about the opportunity at Newcastle College and it is great to be learning a trade. I’m so happy to be working after making loads of unsuccessful applications.”
In addition, Vicky Dixon, 18, from Fenham has secured a business administration apprenticeship with the New Tyne West Development Company – the joint venture partnership driving the Scotswood initiative.
She said: “It is fantastic to be training whilst in the workplace as the whole learning process is so much more in depth. I have experienced a great deal already and have been working on many different tasks.”
Finally, Sarah Hewitt, 18, from Scotswood has started her catering apprenticeship at the Scotswood Community Café, which has seen trade increase due to the influx of construction workers.
Sarah brings a round of teas to (L-R) Vicky, Michael, Neil, Taylor, Ryan, Connor and Jamie.
The Rise as the development is known, is the first phase of a regeneration project which will create in total 1,800 sustainable new homes, all built on an area sweeping down to the River Tyne and offering views along the Derwent and Tyne Valley. The initial phase comprises of 377 homes which are built in and around managed open green spaces and feature tiered gardens across the sloping 66 hectare site.
As well as high quality, eco-friendly family homes, being supplied with hot water and heating from a neighbourhood energy centre - the project will include community and commercial facilities, parks and public open spaces.
The New Tyne West Development Company is a partnership between Newcastle City Council, Barratt Homes North East and Keepmoat Homes. Development Director, Duncan Bowman said: “From the outset the aim has been to develop a new community to complement and merge with the strong existing community in the area. In addition, we want to create jobs and supply chain opportunities for local businesses.
“I am delighted that within just a few weeks of starting construction the partnership has been able to provide these young people with the chance to learn new skills and forge new careers.”
Cabinet Member for Communities and local Ward Councillor, Hazel Stephenson said: “At last, it is wonderful to see the first houses being constructed on this site and it is even more encouraging that this development is able to give a handful of local young people a chance to gain valuable skills and begin a meaningful working life.”
The Rise is one of several sites in Newcastle that are part of a Targeted Recruitment and Training Project, through which the city council has helped secure employment and training opportunities for residents through the use of planning agreements and also by including clauses in council contracts.
The construction apprenticeship recruitment included community engagement events led by Newcastle Futures (a partnership between Newcastle City Council and Jobcentre Plus) in partnership with Scotswood Area Strategy, CITB (The Sector Skills Council for Construction) and Newcastle College. A two week pre-apprenticeship course was held at the college.
The administration and catering apprentices have been recruited and supported through the council’s Apprenticeship Plus initiative, delivered by Newcastle City Learning, which provides financial backing for small to medium businesses to recruit apprentices.