A SCHEME to upgrade thousands of council houses is also providing a step on to the employment ladder for youngsters.
North West Leicestershire District Council revealed its efforts to upgrade homes across the area, including in Ashby and Measham, has seen eight apprentices and trainees offered the chance to learn their trades.
Housing refurbishment companies Kier and Lovell are spearheading the revamp efforts and have recruited an apprentice plumber and electrician, a trainee quantity surveyor and a trainee administrator as well as taking on a part-time warehouse worker.
Kier has three apprentice electricians and a technical apprentice working on the housing improvement scheme.
Roger Bayliss, North West Leicestershire District Council’s housing portfolio holder, said: “By working with Lovell and Kier, we’ve been able to create much needed apprenticeships for young people – and strengthen our local economy by using local subcontractors.
“I hope we will see many more committed, passionate young people come through and develop their skills and confidence.”
All are from the area and are able to earn as they learn, working towards nationally recognised NVQ or HNC qualifications.
The extensive home repair and replacement works programme began in autumn 2012 and includes kitchen, bathroom, boiler and central heating upgrades as well as the installation of new doors, windows and electrical rewiring.
More than 1,700 homes were upgraded by the end of 2013.
Kier regional managing director Simon Bullen said: “We are committed to helping young people develop careers in many different construction trades.
“It is important that, as a sector, we continue to invest in the future generation as apprenticeships give young people a fantastic opportunity to learn practical skills while on the job and earning a wage.”
Lovell regional director Tony Tann said: “We are delighted to be extending the benefits to the wider community through the provision of training and job opportunities.
Delivering a lasting legacy wherever we work is central to our approach.”