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GALLERY: The Princess Royal opens new NHBC training hub at Cambridge

The NHBC Training Hub is adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington

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Bricklaying, site supervisor and surveying apprentices welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to open the National House Building Council’s (NHBC) new Apprenticeship Training Hub in Cambridge. The centre says it is delivering the next generation of skilled house builders in the East of England and closing the national skills gap and housing shortage.

The NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, can train 80 apprentices all year round, enabling them to qualify in as little as 14 months.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

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House builders are finding it increasingly challenging to recruit. Historically, it’s an industry which has been perceived as being male-dominated, and currently, it’s also facing the challenge of an ageing workforce.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

 

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The sector requires an extra 225,000 construction workers by 2027 to meet demand. 75,000 are needed to hit the Government’s target of building 300,000 new homes every year by 2025.

But there are only 42,000 bricklayers in home building, meaning an extra 33,000 are now needed.

 

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Histon training hub, equipped with classrooms, welfare, and catering facilities, provides apprentices with a realistic outdoor working environment and is initially focusing on bricklaying.

At Thursday’s opening, HRH The Princess Royal met with bricklaying apprentices.

Tawona Mativi, 29, from Cambridge and an apprentice with GSQ Brickwork at the NHBC Cambridge Training Hub, said: “I was discouraged by my teachers at school from pursuing an apprenticeship.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

“Some people have the mindset that you must go to university to succeed, but you can make something of yourself in house building by getting an apprenticeship.

“If I had that time over again, I would have done this apprenticeship at the NHBC Training Hub straight out of school.

“The trainers at the NHBC Training Hub are experts and I’m learning while earning.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

“The mix of practical and theoretical learning at the NHBC Training Hub, combined with regularly applying my training on site, is excellent.”

Tawona added: “I’m focused on getting my qualification and working my way up to a supervisor role. People don’t always realise a bricklayer can earn on average £50K per year and the house building industry offers excellent career pathways.”

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

Toby Egan, 23, former goalkeeper for Ipswich Town and an apprentice with Taylor Wimpey at the NHBC Cambridge Training Hub, said: “Meeting HRH The Princess Royal has inspired me even more to get my bricklaying qualification.

“After being let go by Ipswich Town FC, I felt gutted. I’d trained with the club since I was 12 years old and suddenly my whole future was over.

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“I had no path forward. I would say to people wanting to change career to embrace it.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

“The trainers at the NHBC Training Hub are so knowledgeable and treat me as an adult, which was a big thing for me coming into this. The NHBC Training Hub has a really good setup.”

He said: “All the tools and equipment are what you use on site, and I’m learning to build to NHBC’s standards, which is brilliant as they are the best when it comes to house building.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

“I have a young son and I’m learning a skill to pass on to future generations while getting a bricklaying apprenticeship which will open up a lot of career pathways.”

Tegan Pryor, 22, from Shefford, Bedfordshire, is working to gain her level 2 bricklaying apprenticeship at the NHBC Training Hub.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

An apprentice with Redrow, she said: “I knew I wanted a practical job, so the NHBC apprenticeship training programme was perfect.

“There is a lot to learn but I initially started with five weeks at the NHBC Training Hub and then I was ready to go on site and put into practice the knowledge and skills I’d learnt. I then came back to the hub, learned more, and became focused and confident to go back onto site again.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

“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.”

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

Darryl Stewart, responsible for NHBC’s apprentice training programme and hubs, said: “Bricklaying is at the heart of house building and a hugely important skill. In recent years, house builders have found it more challenging to recruit people for a range of reasons.

“Historically, it’s an industry which has been perceived as being male-dominated, and currently, it’s also facing the challenge of an ageing workforce.

“This means we must find ways to encourage people from all walks of life to join the sector which requires an extra 225,000 construction workers by 2027 to meet demand.

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

The Princess Royal officially opens the NHBC Training Hub, adjacent to Histon Football Club, Impington, Cambridge; it can train 80 apprentices all year round. PHOTO: NHBC

“The purpose-built NHBC Training Hub offers a realistic work environment and we’re seeing apprentices completing their training in just 14 months and many with distinctions.

“It’s a standout difference from the 30-month timescale more traditional learning routes take. What’s more, NHBC’s retention rate after completion is an industry-leading 85%, compared to the industry average of 55%.

“An apprenticeship in the house-building industry is a pathway into a range of rewarding and well-paid careers that can make a real difference to the available future workforce.”

The NHBC Training Hub in partnership with The Hill Group, is part of a national growing network of training facilities by the insurance and warranty provider with others based in Tamworth, Newcastle, and Hull.

It also plans to open new hubs in Lichfield and Burgess Hill in 2025.

 

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