Builder looks to Whitburn academy to solve skills crisis

Brims Construction's Malcolm Hedley with Whitburn CoE Academy pupils during construction of the new sixth form centre.
Brims Construction's Malcolm Hedley with Whitburn CoE Academy pupils during construction of the new sixth form centre.
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Brims Construction is backing efforts to solve the skills crisis by looking to take on apprentices from the Whitburn school – where it has just completed a major extension.

Whitburn Cof E Academy’s £10million new Sixth Form Centre allows the school to cater for an additional 280 students, aged between 16 and 18.

Brims hosted a careers event at which five members of staff gave talks to a group of 30 students, focussing on careers in construction.

Brims also attended the academy’s annual careers fair, an award ceremony to mark the early completion of the new building and conducted site tours for the students during construction.

Construction director Richard Wood said: “This was major construction contract and during our time at the school we were delighted to get involved in helping to support its career’s curriculum.

“We recruited three new apprentices to the business early next year and will be looking to do likewise in the 2016 and will be encouraging the youngsters from Whitburn CofE Academy to apply for jobs with the company.

“The sector is showing signs of a return to rapid growth and with many skilled workers looking to retire, it is imperative that we secure a pipeline of future staff to support our growth and the dynamic of the sector as well.”

The new two-storey building was constructed within the academy grounds and provides 12 standard classrooms; social and private study space; cafeteria and dining facilities; office accommodation; and ancillary and support space for teachers and students.

Academy principal Alan Hardie said: “The new Sixth Form Centre has helped the Academy realise our long-held ambition of providing outstanding further education facilities for our students.

“Brims completed the works on budget finishing two weeks early to the delight of the academy and the entire project team. The company deserves our congratulations for the way they progressed the construction process.

“We were also delighted with the approach to supporting the academy’s careers agenda, and grateful for the time and effort they spent informing our pupils of the opportunities and careers available in the industry.

“It would be nice to see at least one of our pupils secure a job with the company.”

Sunderland-based Brims has recruited an additional 25 people this year, taking its workforce to 75.