A group of construction students have renovated two abandoned Luton properties – including an iconic hat factory – under a revolutionary training scheme backed by celebrity builder Tommy Walsh.
Engineering Real Results, the largest trades training organisation in the UK, has spent months buying up neglected and derelict properties in a multi-million pound move which gives young tradespeople work opportunities and essential skills in the trades.
The scheme allows students to comply with Government rules which demand apprentices carry out 100 hours practical training.
The rule has forced apprentices onto the streets begging for unpaid work for decades. Now they can complete their qualifications in weeks rather than years.
Dr Jan Telensky, the financial angel behind the scheme said there have been thousands of new construction jobs this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets – but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because of the legislation.
He said: “Our own apprentices were losing out. This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country and enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks instead of years.”
The company has also been buying properties in Watford, Cardiff, Southampton, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Livingstone, West Lothian, Cardiff, Basildon and Wolverhampton.
And in an unprecedented move to help young families get onto the housing ladder Dr Telensky hopes to offer some of the properties for sale at discounted prices to the students who worked on them.
A spokesman for Brighter Homes, part of the Engineering Real Results organisation, set up to supply practical training for students, said: “We are committed to getting students into work and if we can help them get onto the housing ladder too that would be brilliant.”
Chairman of BPEC, the NVQ certification organisation and charity, Frank Glover said: “For too long you could study to get into the industry and then you had to find an employer and that wasn’t always easy. The red tape creates a blockage in the labour market. But this scheme is a fantastic solution, it allows people to get real hands-on experience.”
Paul Senior, chairman of the National Federation of Builders, also backed the scheme, saying: “Anything to provide training and experience to young construction students is a very good thing. The industry is very dependent on up-to-date skills and experience and we welcome innovative solutions such as Engineering Real Results.”