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Business & Economy

Tolent named contractor on £15 million Sunderland housebuilding skills hub

A contractor has been appointed to create a £15 million skills hub focused on nurturing the house builders of tomorrow.

Tolent will design and construct the Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy (HICSA), in Sunderland.

Bosses say the base will provide “world-class training” and “next generation skills for next generation homes”.

When completed, they say HICSA – which has been backed by Government cash – will support the development of scores of eco-friendly homes planned for Riverside Sunderland and the city centre.

The academy will be operated by Sunderland College, with support from education and industry partners including the George Clark-led Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (MOBIE).

Construction is earmarked to begin later this year.



Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, which appointed Tolent to deliver the building, said: “This is a development that is of huge significance to the city – it will fuel construction skills that will make Sunderland a leader in modern methods of construction and retrofit.

“With Tolent working on the development of the first housing scheme on Vaux too, it is quite fitting they will also be building the training academy that will develop skills to help us deliver future phases of residential development at Riverside Sunderland.”

Paul Webster, Tolent chief executive, said: “The talent that emerges from HICSA will no doubt power our own future skills pipeline, so we’re pleased to be playing a part in bringing this important project forward.”

Ellen Thinnesen, Sunderland College and Education Partnership North East chief executive, added: “A significant increase in training provision is needed for all skills and roles across the construction and energy sectors if we are to build homes of the future.

“HICSA will be a key part of the ecosystem.”