Government minister visits Scarborough to open Green Skills Construction Village

Dehenna Davison spent time with apprentices during the visitDehenna Davison spent time with apprentices during the visit
Dehenna Davison spent time with apprentices during the visit
Levelling Up minister Dehenna Davison has paid an extended visit to the Yorkshire Coast to see how part of the £21 million Government Levelling Up funding allocated to the area has been spent.

Ms Davison visited four projects while in the area, including the opening of the Green Skills Construction Village in Eastfield.

The Bishop Auckland MP was given a tour of the skills village during which she spent time with apprentices studying at the village, before officially declaring the site open.

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Ms Davision, who during her visit took the opportunity to try out the centre’s start-of-the-art virtual reality groundwork simulator said: “The green construction village and traditional construction village really embody what Levelling Up is about.

Dehenna Davison opening the skills villageDehenna Davison opening the skills village
Dehenna Davison opening the skills village

"Young people can access their potential on their door step so they don’t feel they have to flock to towns and cities further afield to achieve their goals.”

The site has been re-built and transformed to create bespoke training areas for apprentices of all ages across seven trades, which will be expanded to incorporate green skills from spring 2023.

Managing director Graham Ratcliffe said: “I want to say how proud we are of our apprentices and our staff over the past seven years.

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“We started out at a site at Middle Deepdale with just two cabins.

Ms Davison at the controls of a virtual reality excavatorMs Davison at the controls of a virtual reality excavator
Ms Davison at the controls of a virtual reality excavator

"We moved to this old farm which was in a very poor state, and we have utterly transformed it, using over 80% local tradespeople and their apprentices - and what we have today is a dream that has come true.

He thanked the Scarborough Town Deal Board, which allocated more than £500,000 from the government’s Levelling Up scheme.

David Kerfoot, chairman of Scarborough Town Deal board which was given £21.7m government funding for significant growth-related initiatives, said: “This is a place that delivers.

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“We have eight projects, and this is the first to come home.

Meet and greet at the skills villageMeet and greet at the skills village
Meet and greet at the skills village

“It’s a wonderful example of what funding from Whitehall can do.”

Borough council leader Cllr Steve Siddons said: “It is a tribute to Graham and his team over the years that the work of the skills village has created hundreds of apprentices.

“It provides young people - and not-so-young people - the help to get into well-paid careers and skilled employment.”

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Jessica Ratcliffe, project manager, said the skills village is aimed at developing smaller trades such as electricians, plumbers, builders, brickies, joiners, plasterers and construction plant operatives.

Touring the siteTouring the site
Touring the site

She said: “Apprentices come from as far afield as Whitby, Bridlington and York. Most are employed by small to medium enterprises and it’s great to have more space to take on more apprentices as we were getting to capacity.”

Tom Aston from Scarborough based company EMCE is one of the businesses whose apprentices attend the skills village, he said: “We have three here on apprenticeships at the moment and plan to bring in more in September.

"It’s really hard to come by skilled people and the only way is to teach them ourselves. In terms of what the skills village offers and the level of teaching, there are no concerns from our point of view.”

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After lunch at the skills village, Ms Davison went to Scarborough Harbour, where she was shown plans for the redevelopment of the West Pier, before moving on to Whitby where she visited Eastside Community Centre and the old Town Hall.