Nick Clegg Visits Bristol Site to See Apprentices in Action20-07-2012
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited the Junction 3 development in Bristol on Friday, 13th July to see first-hand how On Site Bristol and the Leadbitter Group are working together to provide genuine training and employment opportunities for young people.
Mr Clegg met apprentices and trainees at the £9 million mixed-use development close to the M32 in Bristol, which is being constructed by Leadbitter as part of a partnership between Knightstone Housing Association, Bristol City Council and the Big Lottery Community Libraries Programme.
On Site Bristol assists local construction businesses to recruit and support the training of local people. It has worked closely with the Leadbitter Group over the past five years supporting a range of initiatives designed to help local people forge careers in construction.
Zach Mealing, 17, who is 12 months into his four-year apprenticeship with On Site Bristol and is employed by Leadbitter’s supply chain partner, MG Plumbing Ltd, helped Mr Clegg try his hand at some basic plumbing. The Deputy Prime Minister also got the chance to meet a number of other apprentices employed locally by the Council and private companies, as well as other young people preparing for construction careers.
The On Site Bristol partnership, led by Bristol City Council, was formed in 1996 to invest in training and jobs linked to the redevelopment of the city. The Council has been instrumental in helping On Site achieve its aims and objectives and has invested considerable resource in supporting the scheme, which now has 200+ apprentices on programme at any one time, including 30 apprentices directly employed by Bristol City Council.
Since 1996 On Site Bristol has worked with hundreds of local employers (nearly 90% being small/micro firms) and over 700 local young people have qualified through the scheme. With the support of Bristol City Council, developers and other partners, On Site successfully leverages funding, including grants, to assist these businesses to employ and train apprentices. Many firms have grown naturally through the employment of apprentices and this has helped them become more resilient, improve standards and, crucially, invest in the local economy.
Junction 3 is a prime example of how construction projects can benefit the wider community with more than 90% of Leadbitter’s labour being sourced locally, with all its subcontractors drawn from a local employment event sponsored by Knightstone Housing Association and Bristol City Council.
Speaking on behalf of the On Site Bristol partnership, Steve Burgess, Leadbitter Group Main Board Director, said: "Apprenticeships play an important role in providing training and employment opportunities to people of all ages and are critical to ensuring the construction industry has the skilled people needed to continue to meet the building needs of our communities. Working closely with our supply chain, Leadbitter helps apprentices develop the skills they need to be successful. We’re pleased that Mr Clegg has been able to see first-hand the impact of this valuable training.”