Some of the most influential companies in the North East construction sector supported an event organised by Northern Counties Builders Federation (NCBF) in collaboration with the Faculty of Construction at Sunderland College, highlighting the talents of young trades people about to enter the workplace.

It was one of a number of events the NCBF is holding with colleges across the region, as it mounts a sustained campaign to support the next generation of talent.

The event attracted a mix of national and regional companies including Kier Group, MGL Construction, Geoffrey Robinson, Classic Masonry, Wates Group, Tilbury Douglas, Bowmer & Kirkland, Compass Developments, Meldrum Construction, BRIMS, NJW Recruitment, McNally & Thompson, Roberston Construction and Carney Consultancy.

Employers viewed the college’s construction facilities, had an opportunity to watch students perfect their trades and learnt about various apprenticeship grants and funding for individuals from representatives from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

The NCBF is a long-established trade association bringing together construction companies and contractors in the North East. As a membership organisation, it is proactive in raising the profile of its members, supporting training and apprenticeships and helping to future-proof the region’s construction sector.

Tony Kay, president, NCBF, said: “This collaborative event with the Faculty of Construction at Sunderland College, attracted a wide range of regional contractors who, despite working in a competitive market, came together to support a common goal – the critical need to attract and retain the next generation of trades people.

“We are positive the event will inform employers as to the benefits of hiring final year trades students who are ready to step into the world of work.”

Simon Muschamp, faculty director for construction at Sunderland College, said: “It was a pleasure to host the event. It gave us the opportunity to show employers our facilities and see the learners in the workshops.

“We were able to demonstrate the importance of employer engagement in the progression for young people into the construction industry and how pivotal the Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy (HICSA) will be in supporting students of all ages in gaining technical qualifications and securing employment, which will support the local and regional economies.

“For the industry to thrive, it is key that main contractors and their supply chains see the importance of providing opportunities for apprenticeships, industry placements and playing an active role in the co-delivery of vocational qualifications within their local colleges.”

Jonathan Pepper, Brims construction project manager HICSA, said: “We would like to thank Simon Muschamp of Sunderland College and the NCBF for an excellent tour of the college, insights about the campus and what the students are doing. The tour has made us excited for the benefits the college’s new Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy (HICSA) will bring to the education of our young tradespeople and the opportunities that lie ahead.”