North East housebuilder Avant Homes is helping to nurture the next generation of commercial and technical talent in the region, whilst addressing the skill shortage in the sector, with a new apprenticeship scheme.

Aimed at encouraging more young people to seek a career in the housebuilding industry, the scheme provides candidates with hands-on experience in a real-life environment, taking skills already learned in school and college and developing them on the job.

Unlike other apprenticeship initiatives in the building and construction sector that focus on trade skills, the Avant Homes scheme is based around learning and developing commercial skills such as Quantity Surveying and buying alongside technical competences, including architectural and engineering.

Michael Hogan and Luke Shaw, both studying at Hartlepool College of Further Education and local to the area, are the first two students to be a part of the Avant apprenticeship scheme. Commercial trainee, Michael said: “I’d seen Avant homes first-hand at showhomes in the area and I was really impressed. It’s an industry that I was interested in beforehand and I could tell Avant was a company that was going places.

“I’ve really enjoyed learning new skills in an industry that I’d never been a part of before. It’s been great working with a good bunch of colleagues who I’ve learnt a lot from. After I’ve finished my apprenticeship and qualifications I’d like to stay with the company and work my way up.”

Technical trainee, Luke Shaw, added: “I was attracted to the Avant Homes apprenticeship because I’m interested in engineering.

“I’m really enjoying the apprentice scheme with Avant. I’m benefiting from first-hand experience whilst learning the tricks of the trade. No day is the same. I’ve worked across a number of different projects since I started and I’ve most enjoyed reviewing drawings and coming up with solutions that help the team. In the future I’m looking forward to continuing with Avant and progressing as an engineer.”

Based in Sunderland, Avant Homes North East is an operating company of the Avant Homes group, one of the leading private developers of residential property in the UK. It currently operates across 11 developments throughout the region, stretching from Birkey Heights in Acomb to Tall Trees in Yarm. More than 180 people work to bring them to life, demonstrating the need for a talented and skilled workforce in the North East.

Across the housebuilding industry there is a shortage of skilled workers, with research from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicting that the North East will need more than 750 new workers a year between 2019 and 2023 to meet the demand for new homes.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Home Building Skills Partnership in conjunction with the CTIB have launched a combined initiative to address this shortage nationally, something Avant Homes is supporting with this new apprenticeship scheme.

Avant Homes North East managing director, Scott Varley, said: “We’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that apprentices can have and there is a collective effort across our industry to get more young adults and school leavers into the sector. At Avant Homes, we’re pleased to be playing our part in supporting the industry by training the next generation of talent.

“As the demand for homes increases, so will the need for a skilled workforce. So far, we’ve welcomed two apprentices to Avant Homes North East, and they’ve been fantastic additions to our team.”

For more information about apprenticeships and careers with Avant Homes, visit https://www.avanthomes.co.uk/careers/.