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Bridgend Council leaders visit Persimmon’s Construction Academy

To mark National Apprenticeships Week 2024, a five-star housebuilder recently hosted senior Welsh councillors at its training academy.

Cllr Huw David, Leader of Bridgend Council, and Cllr Rhys Goode – who is the Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning, and Regeneration – met with apprentices of Persimmon, who work closely with Bridgend College in providing future career pathways.

The developer’s partnership with the College that underpins the Academy builds on a successful relationship that has developed between the two organisations over the past six years, and which has created over 150 new job opportunities in construction across South Wales.

The councillors were given a tour of the workshops by Persimmon West Wales’ Managing Director, Stuart Phillips. They spoke with apprentices about their experience at the Academy and their future career ambitions. They met with apprentice Sam Veasey who won the British Junior National Final at the Guild of Bricklayers competition last year.

The visit came on the same day Persimmon Academy played host to the second national Construction Skills heat as part of the Skills Competition Wales programme, where entrants aged 14-16 from across Wales were assessed on their bricklaying abilities. A thousand bricks were donated by Persimmon West Wales for the students to use for their entry.

Funded by the Welsh Government and run by a dedicated network of colleges, work-based learning providers and employer-led organisations, it consists of a series of local skills competitions, aligned to WorldSkills and the needs of the Welsh economy. The 64 individual competitions cover skills across four sector, including Construction and Infrastructure.

Persimmon Homes West Wales have sites across the region, including adjacent to the Llanilid-based training base, where homes are available at its Michaels Grove and Morgans Walk sites from £199,995. Their Community Champions Fund – which sees £24,000 go to good causes each year – recently helped Bridgend College Rugby Academy.

Stuart Phillips – Managing Director of Persimmon Homes West Wales – commented:

“Persimmon is rightly proud of our tradition of training and hiring apprentices and so it was a pleasure that our Academy – that we run in conjunction with Bridgend College – were able to host a skills competition ahead of Apprenticeship Week, and I congratulate all the entrants on their efforts.

“That we were able to show the fruits of our work with the College to the Council’s leadership at the same time was also a great way for us to highlight our role in providing jobs as well as high-quality homes for local people as part of our mission to leave a positive and lasting legacy where we build.”

Cllr Huw David – Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council – added:

 “We’re grateful to Persimmon and Bridgend College for inviting us to the Academy, not only to hear about its role in the local economy but, to speak directly with some of their inspiring apprentices.

“As a Council, it is important for us to see local businesses provide job opportunities to young people who can discover and develop their skills as part of their journey to a successful career, so having somewhere that works closely with the local college on the county borough’s doorstep like the Persimmon Academy is a huge advantage for our residents.”

Cllr Rhys Goode, Bridgend Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning, and Regeneration, said:

“It is great to see a developer like Persimmon really engage with the local community through something like the Academy – construction is a great industry for young people to go into and is full of reliable, well-paying, and fulfilling professions.

“Everyone wants their own home as well as the houses around them to be high-quality, and speaking with apprentices and seeing the bricklaying work from the competition just went to show how valuable it is to learn those housebuilding skills at an early age.”

Rob Clover, Employer Partnership Leader for Construction at Bridgend College, also said:

 “Bridgend College is very proud of its collaborative partnership with Persimmon and it was a privilege to introduce just some of our local apprentices to their Council leaders The apprentices will progress to become highly skilled workers thanks to the Academy.

“Hosting Skills Competition Wales’ construction heat earlier in the day was also a huge highlight for us. It was a great opportunity to showcase our construction provision for young people in the area and it was great to help out with a venue for this great initiative.”