Apprenticeships help Persimmon build for the future

A North East housebuilder has laid the foundations for a successful future after taking on a raft of talented teenage apprentices.

Persimmon Homes, which is preparing to kick-start several new-build residential schemes throughout the region, has begun a recruitment drive to find additional staff who can help service the extra workload.

New faces include Gateshead College students Brandon Hildrew, John Parkin, Kallum Parsons, Thomas Smith and Christopher Wilson, who have all embarked on two-year bricklaying apprenticeships.

On completion of the course, the five apprentices will be qualified to Level 2 with the option of progressing to an advanced-level apprenticeship. They will be skilled in the construction of basic masonry structures such as brick, block and cavity walling, and will also acquire knowledge of building methods, construction technologies, pre-build design work and health and safety.

They will be hoping to play a part in the next chapter of Persimmon’s growth story after the group posted a 23% rise in revenues in its latest financial results. Locally the company employs 15 apprentices in a 450-strong workforce and has developed new-build housing schemes in Blaydon, Birtley, South Shields and Ashington.

Chris Curry, construction director at Persimmon Homes, said:

“We are thrilled to be taking on five apprentices of this calibre. Persimmon North East has had a very successful 2014 and our strong order book for 2015 has opened up opportunities to recruit talented, entrepreneurial apprentices who can grow with the company as we expand further.”

The recruitment of the Gateshead College students demonstrates Persimmon’s commitment to developing local talent. Seventeen year-old Thomas is from Chester le Street, while Brandon and Kallum, both 18, hail from Newcastle. Eighteen year-olds John and Christopher are from Wallsend and Gateshead respectively.

Christopher said:

“I’m thrilled to have been given the chance to work for such a well-established company. Persimmon has a good track record in the industry and is renowned for developing young talent.

“The apprenticeship will allow me to gain practical, on-the-job experience whilst learning the relevant theory at Gateshead College. It’s a great scheme that gives young people like myself an opportunity to get their foot on the career ladder.”

Gateshead College is one of the biggest providers of apprenticeships in the region, supporting more than 400 organisations committed to improving the skills of young people starting out on their careers and adults looking to boost career prospects through an apprenticeship route.

In recent years the college has ramped up its training provision by boosting the quality and variety of apprenticeships available to employers looking to up-skill their workforces. The organisation currently works with employers of all sizes, in areas such as construction, engineering, logistics, retail, catering and transport.

Chris Toon, deputy principal at Gateshead College, said:

“Persimmon is a firm advocate of apprenticeships and it’s great that these five budding bricklayers are being given a chance to build a career at the company. This form of training is a great way of developing young talent and providing companies with the skills that can propel their business forward.”