Work has officially begun on Constructing Futures Devon’s first property, with young apprentices from South Devon College getting to work on a full renovation of a family home in Hill Park Road, Torquay.
Partly funded by £574,320 from the Heart of the South West LEP’s Growth Deal Funding,
Constructing Futures is a sustainable social purpose business established as a trading arm of independent charity Devon Communities Together. The new construction company has partnered with South Devon College to give students the opportunity to work on renovation projects and new build properties as an off campus “real site” work experience opportunity. Homes will be sold on the open market, with profit reinvested into Constructing Futures as well as Devon Communities Together to fund its work in communities throughout Devon.
The first property, 6 Hill Park Road, Torquay, was purchased earlier this year and already two keen South Devon College apprentices and their trainer have been getting to work on the renovation. Work includes knocking through to create a kitchen-diner, rewiring, a renewed plumbing system, the bringing in of a new gas main into the property, as well as a new water main and new external doors and windows in UPVC. A new gas fired central heating system will be installed, along with a new bathroom and kitchen, plastering of several walls and ceilings, and redecoration throughout. The rear garden has a new opening with French doors allowing direct access onto a new raised patio area from the kitchen-dining area. The garden is also having a makeover.
The property was selected because of the nature and extent of the works required to refurbish the property, which maximises the input of many different trade apprentices, including bricklayers, plasterers, electricians, plumbers, heating engineers and decorators, as well as offering a good learning opportunity for live building site health and safety requirements, risk and method statements, and general project planning skills.
Kevin Finan the Chairman of Constructing Futures Devon, said: “After a long journey and lots of hard work we’re delighted to see Constructing Futures come to fruition in the way we always intended – giving local young people the chance to get real-life construction experience and create a lovely family home for people to enjoy. We’re very much looking to see the finished result and hearing about the apprentices’ experiences of their first Constructing Futures project.”
The Heart of the South West LEP’s total Growth Deal is worth over £590m; including £239m from Government and £351m match funding. Over the lifetime of the Growth Deal: 2015 – 2021; HotSW LEP estimates the investment will create up to 26,930 new jobs and 18,242 new homes; over 59,000 people will be trained under this programme and over 30,000 businesses will have been supported.
Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “This Government is committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.
“Giving young people the opportunity to get the skills they need for careers in the construction industry while helping build the homes our country needs is a winning combination and a great use of more than £500,000 of Local Growth Fund investment.
“Reinvesting the profits to fund further work across Devon should ensure the benefits of the project go on long into the future.”
Chair of the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley CBE DL said: “I am delighted that the Local Enterprise Partnership is supporting this innovative project through its Growth Deal with Government. We’re committed to helping our partners deliver such schemes that raise skills and improve employment opportunities for the local workforce, and go towards raising productivity in the economies of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.
“The construction sector offers high value careers, and the industry in the Heart of the South West area is keen to attract new learners to take up the valuable skills training needed to develop the sector locally. I wish these first new apprentices every success at the start of their journey.”
Head of Construction and Built Environment at South Devon College, Dean Bowden said, “This is a very exciting project and we're proud to be a part of it. Projects like these provide real and meaningful work activities that enable our Construction learners to hone the skills, knowledge and behaviours learnt in College on a live project. Great community based projects like these provide stretch and challenge for all learners involved whilst enhancing their employability skills. We are always happy to be approached with requests to support local community projects that contribute to the local/wider community. Our involvement with Constructing Futures is certainly mutually beneficial, and are we very much looking forward to the continuing partnership on future projects.”