The Housing Minister has called on young people to consider a construction career as he welcomed the first apprentices to a brickwork academy.
The housebuilding industry was devastated by the 2008 economic crash, resulting in the loss of quarter of a million construction jobs.
However, the government has put housebuilding at the heart of its long-term economic plan, leading to a revival of the sector with housebuilding levels now double those seen in 2009.
The Housing Minister issued the rallying cry for youngsters as he attended an open day at the Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy at Derby College ahead of its official launch next week.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “For the last 5 years, our efforts have got Britain building. This means thousands of jobs are now up for grabs – roles that offer a great opportunity to build a successful and well-paid career.
“The Hodgkinson Brickwork Academy is a fantastic example of how a new generation of talented, ambitious, highly skilled bricklayers can be inspired and developed – nurturing our home-grown talent and building the homes we need for years to come.”
During the visit, Lewis spoke with several new students about their ambitions and met with academy mastermind Ian Hodgkinson, who was inspired to set up the training facility because of a lack of qualified bricklayers in the area.
The father of 3 is a 30-year veteran of the construction industry, having initially trained as a builder and bricklayer before setting up a successful construction business in 1990.
Managing director of Hodgkinson Builders, Ian Hodgkinson, said: “This is a crucial area for the economy and I am absolutely delighted that the minister has taken the time to visit us and to see what we are doing here.
“We’ve got ambitious young people seeing that a career in bricklaying and construction in general is full of rewards and it is fantastic to be working with such a forward-thinking organisation as Derby College on this academy.
“Together we can get Britain building again and start with the ambitious young men and women who can forge a fantastic career.”
The academy, set up in partnership with Derby College, will be run at campuses in Ilkeston and the Roundhouse in Pride Park. It has already seen high demand with over 100 potential recruits attending an open day in June.
Students at the academy will benefit from individual support and mentoring from Mr Hodgkinson and his team. They will gain practical work experience and will be guaranteed an interview with his company following completion of the 1 or 2-year courses.
Derby College business development director, April Hayhurst, said: “The response so far to the Hodgkinson Brick Academy has been outstanding and we are confident of a significant number of new learners joining the programme this September at both our Derby and Ilkeston campuses.
“Our role as a college is to ensure that young people are ready for the world of work and have the skills that employers need to grow and increase their competitive edge.