To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Wates Group has announced it is joining the Northern Coalition on Skills to tackle the North-South skills divide and support the national levelling up agenda
This is the companies biggest trainee and apprenticeship drive and will see 96 new roles created in 2022, a 40% increase from Wates’ average. A third of the jobs will be based in the North.
The Northern Coalition on Skills was set up in August 2021 by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and is focused on tackling the North-South skills gap, which has widened from 4% to 7% over the past 16 years.
It also aims to boost apprenticeship numbers to pre-pandemic levels which have fallen by 58,000 nationally.
‘Close the North-South skills divide’
Steve Beechey, group public sector director, Wates Group, said: “As a key contractor on many public sector frameworks, we are working hard to support the Government’s levelling up agenda.
“This won’t be possible without businesses across sectors getting involved and we’re proud to be part of the solution driving to close the North-South skills divide.
“We’re now calling on more businesses to follow our lead and commit to providing training and job opportunities, helping to upskill communities and create the next generation of workers across the UK.”
‘Expand our footprint in the North’
Paul Dodsworth, regional MD, Wates Construction North, said: “This important initiative supports our commitment to creating opportunities for young people and will help to further expand our footprint in the North.
“We are working on many landmark developments across the region, and achieving our ambitious growth targets will only be possible with a skilled workforce.”
‘Upskilling and reskilling our workforce’
Sarah Mulholland, head of policy at the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Investing in upskilling and reskilling our workforce enables people to access higher paid roles, while acting as an engine for an economic recovery from the pandemic.
“It’s fantastic to see big businesses like Wates making a commitment to providing more training and career opportunities.
“We need to see more companies doing the same: helping more people into innovative future-ready industries while creating a more productive, balanced economy.”