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Business & Economy

National Apprenticeship Week: Construction apprentices given insight into future trends through partnership

A construction firm and education provider are partnering to deliver an innovative apprenticeship approach.

Esh Group and the North East Institute of Technology (NEIoT) are working together to secure the next generation of builders.

NEIoT’s curriculum enables employers to influence learning by meeting regularly with educators to review plans and innovate teaching methods.

And bosses believe it has provided a major shift for businesses looking to recruit the workforce of the future.

Darush Dodds, Esh corporate affairs director, said: “NEIoT not only puts businesses at the centre of the technical curriculum’s development and delivery, but provides a direct insight into courses that we enrol our apprentices onto, while enabling businesses at the coal face to provide feedback on what is, and isn’t, working well.”

Esh Group joined NEIoT as lead construction partner in 2020, and has since seen 24 apprentices study courses.

Darush is one of several sectoral leads to join bi-monthly meetings with NEIoT director Sharon Grant, as well as representatives from education partners.

The sessions, which are followed up by sub-group meetings, drive change on key topics including retrofit, digital skills and modern methods of construction.

He added: “Through the collaboration, we are shaping the learners we want, that our industry needs and the learners our region requires to drive it forward.

“There is a perception the construction world is cold, wet and dirty – and at times it can be.

“But it’s our job to showcase the wide range of incredible opportunities available to those entering or transitioning within the sector.

“We are looking to Gen-Z to shape our future, as well as their own, and apprenticeships provide the perfect platform.”

NEIoT group meetings involve current programme updates, emerging theme roundtables and expert guest speakers.

Darush says these candid and timely discussions will transform the landscape for the better.

He said: “While educators listen to our needs, it’s very important we listen to our education colleagues.

“It’s not only construction that is encountering a skills shortage – many colleges and universities are struggling to recruit lecturers.

“This presents an opportunity and, following some detailed modelling, we hope to share some exciting updates later this year.”

Sharon says collaboration with business and education is crucial to the curriculum’s success, particularly when it comes to developing future opportunities for young people.

She added: “I believe in shaping a future where industry and education converge seamlessly.

“By fostering collaboration and innovation, we empower learners to not only meet the needs of today’s dynamic workforce but also drive the construction industry forward with a passion for excellence and adaptability.

“It’s truly inspiring to see the impact our initiatives can have for our region.”