Forrest backs Lancashire apprenticeship scheme

David McCourt

Six apprentices have been guaranteed placements for the full-term of their training thanks to a partnership between the council and several companies.

Lancaster City Council, Forrest, Constructing the Future Lancashire and CITB Construction Skills teamed up to create the scheme.

Shared apprenticeship schemes that are not full-term work on an on-demand basis, and place apprentices back in the pool once a contract has ended.

Reece Robson McClintok, apprentice joiner from Morecambe and first of the recruits, said: "I'm excited about joining the scheme because it allows me, over the next three years, to gain a wider range of experience working for both Forrest and Lancaster City Council, enhancing my future career opportunities with both organisations."

The apprentices will be employed by Constructing the Future Lancashire, with Forrest and Lancaster City Council sharing the responsibility of providing the work-based element of their apprenticeship for the length of their course.

Forrest will employ the apprentices – two plumbers, two plasterers and two joiners – to support work on Lancaster City Council's Planned Maintenance Framework.

Lee McCarren, chief executive of Forrest, said: "Working in tandem with local authorities is what allows us to offer valuable employment opportunities when some apprentices are struggling to complete their courses after being laid off due to declining trade.

"Our long-term offering will allow the first cohort within Constructing the Future Lancashire to work alongside our team and hone their skills."

Cllr David Smith, cabinet member with responsibility for environmental services, said: "I'm pleased that through this innovative scheme we have been able to give six school leavers the opportunity to carry on their studies and gain valuable hands on experience alongside a skilled workforce."

Jane Smith, of Constructing the Future Lancashire, said: "Our aim is to keep the construction industry buoyant and plug the skills gap, but without the support of local employers our initiative would be redundant.

"The guaranteed work allows apprentices to put their theoretical learning into practice to prepare them for a career in the industry."

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