A Homes Counties regeneration project bringing over 500 new homes, together with new shops and public spaces, has so far given two local lads a career start in housebuilding – with the potential of more to come.
South Oxhey Central, just inside Hertfordshire on the border with Greater London and a few miles from Watford, is a partnership between Countryside, Home Group and Three Rivers District Council. Two young men who live locally – Simon Alley and Johnny Curd – took their places on site last year as apprentices, ahead of its official launch in February 2018.
The developers have joined forces with Joe Brennan Training (JBT) to bring the right people on board to learn the skills onsite while studying on day release. Simon joined in April as an apprentice carpenter apprentice while Johnny started his plumbing role in September. They are just two of 56 apprentices taken on through the Countryside/JBT partnership, with 85% of those completing the programme, qualifying and securing employment.
Simon says: “This apprenticeship offered me the chance to get an insight into what life is like working in construction while also gaining training towards a valuable qualification. There is a great atmosphere on site and I would encourage anyone considering a career in this area to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.”
When Cllr Sara Bedford, leader of the Three Rivers District Council, went to see and speak to these latest recruits among the team of around 100 on the building site, she commented: “Three Rivers has been determined that the redevelopment at South Oxhey Central would bring a range of benefits to the local community, including greater employment and training opportunities. We are therefore delighted that, directly due to the initiative, local young people are accessing the quality apprenticeship places provided by Countryside and Home Group. I hope that many more local residents will apply for future opportunities as they arise.”
Countryside has a long-established policy for equal opportunities, giving people of all backgrounds a chance of a job, including ex-offenders and those with learning difficulties. Paul Sweeney, the company’s director of community development, says: “We are a committed supporter of apprenticeships, aiming to equip young people with the skills and confidence they need for a career in the construction industry, as young people are finding vocational training to be an increasingly attractive and cost-effective alternative to an academic route. We are proud to be continuing our partnership with JBT to facilitate another apprenticeship scheme, making an important contribution to the community by putting improved life prospects for local people at the heart of the regeneration process.”