GMI Construction Group has joined the Northern Coalition on skills as part of its commitment to support the levelling up agenda

Claire Preston, GMI Construction Group’s head of responsible business, was invited to join the Northern Coalition, formed by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. The aim of the coalition is to transform the skills system.

The Northern Coalition allows representatives from across the Northern business communities to collaborate and call for much-needed reform.

The Northern Coalition aspires to restore, and then exceed the number of apprenticeships available in the North to pre-pandemic levels. It is hoped that this will be achieved by making the apprenticeship levy more flexible.

Across the North, apprenticeship numbers are falling. In 2019/2020, the number of those starting an apprenticeship in 2019/20 fell by 5,400 (8%) to 63,900 and in 2020/21 that fell a further 13,600 (21%) to 50,300.

GMI Construction has long championed apprenticeships and undergraduate work placements

As one of the biggest independent construction companies across the North and the Midlands, GMI Construction has long been promoting apprenticeships and undergraduate work placements.

For example, it recently gained membership to the prestigious 5% Club following its commitment to developing modern construction skills through earn and learn opportunities.

Currently, GMI Construction Group has offices in Leeds, Manchester, Teesside, and Birmingham and employs 213 people. In recent months, it has recruited three apprentices to bring its cohort to 13.

Committed to levelling up

Furthermore, it has signed up to both the Care Leaver Covenant and the Armed Forces Covenant. It has also pledged its support to young people as they move from local authority care to living independently, together with armed forces veterans and reservists, as part of its levelling up commitment.

The company is responsible for major infrastructure projects that hope to transform the North by generating more jobs and wealth.

These projects include:

  • the construction of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Advanced Engineering (CESAM) in Sunderland
  • the development of the multi-award winning Thorpe Park, Leeds
  • the delivery of a 102,171 sq. ft industrial unit at Liberty Park Widnes
  • the building of a 92,000 sq. ft distribution unit for Fagan & Whalley at Burnley Bridge Business Park

‘We value construction apprenticeships, trainees, and graduates’

Claire Preston said:

“We value construction apprenticeships, trainees, and graduates extremely highly as a way of developing new employees with the hands-on skills, experience, and education that are required within the sector.

“I’m proud to be joining the Northern Coalition on Skills and hope, along with other businesses across the North, we can make inspiring and practical changes to the skills system to create more and values apprenticeship opportunities which will deliver the North a skilled and adaptable workforce.”

Creating the Northern Powerhouse via the Northern Coalition

Chief executive officer of GMI Construction Group, Lee Powell, said:

“Construction as an industry is creating the Northern Powerhouse and making levelling up a reality through the provision of factories, logistics centres, and offices – modern infrastructure that will generate the long-term economic prosperity the North requires.

“I’m pleased that GMI can contribute its expertise and knowledge to the Coalition, with an opportunity to bring about even greater change.”


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