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Council builds futures through major housing investment

Published: 25/10/2016

Local jobseekers have been given a career kick-start with national developer, Wates Residential, as part of Flintshire County Council’s programme to build 500 brand new homes across the county. The training initiative has seen 11 local people take part in Wates’ national Building Futures programme, marking the 1,000th enrolment to the intensive two-week training course. Candidates were recruited through Welsh Government’s LIFT programme which is managed in Flintshire by Communities First and works with people who face the greatest barriers to becoming employable and have been out of work for six months or more. Hosted at Deeside Leisure Centre, the training programme comprised construction skills trade sessions, including carpentry, plumbing and tiling, as well as CV and interview workshops with Wates Residential and its supply chain partners. Each candidate also received a certificate at an award ceremony at Flint Town Council Chamber. During the course candidates also joined Wates on the site of the former Custom House School in Connah’s Quay where the developer is currently building the first homes under the council’s Strategic Housing and Regeneration Partnership (SHARP). The delivery of Building Futures forms part of Wates Residential’s role as lead developer for SHARP, which will see the creation of 500 news homes across Flintshire in the next five years. Flintshire County Council Leader, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said: “Flintshire County Council is facilitating the introduction of more apprenticeships in the county, especially in construction. Building more houses has been our priority for the past four years – maximising the benefits of capital projects such as our housing programmes which will see £100m invested over 5 years. We are working with Wates to deliver this programme – the first new build council houses in a generation.” Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Derek Butler, who presented the awards, said: “On behalf of Flintshire County Council, I would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the first step and completing this programme. You all turned up every day and you have achieved the qualifications. We need people like you and there are lots of opportunities for you to build on what you have achieved so far. You are the trailblazers – there will be more courses like this run in the future for people in the area who are either unemployed or are looking for a change in career.” Lee Sale, Business Director at Wates Residential, said: “Through SHARP, Flintshire County Council is really setting the standard for major housing investment and a big part of this is the breadth of opportunity it is creating for local people. “As the council’s development partner we have been working closely over the past year to identify the ways in which we can positively impact the county and our joint delivery of Building Futures is just one example of our efforts to fulfil this commitment.” The training initiative in Flintshire saw Wates reach its 1,000th Building Futures enrolment since it launched the flagship programme in 2005. Accredited by the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). Building Futures rewards candidates with a QCF Level 1 Award in Building Crafts and a CSCS registration to help secure future training and work experience on building sites. Caption: The 11 successful trainees with Su Pickerill, Group Community Investment Manager for Wates Group (on right standing) and seated L to R: Mick Cunningham – Wates, Debbie Barker - LIFT Mentor, Nia Parry – Communities First, Cllr Derek Butler, Cllr Aaron Shotton and Darren Eccleston, Pre Construction Director at Wates Residential