Two students have become the first in Dorset to join an innovative scheme that helps construction companies take on more apprentices

The SWSA aspires to create 150 new apprenticeships over the next three years across Dorset and Devon

Alex Bryant, Bournemouth and John Cahill, Broadstone, have helped launch the South West Shared Apprenticeship (SWSA) scheme designed to employ young people for the entire period of their training.

The construction sector has an intrinsic skills training problem. Firms often can’t commit to taking on apprenticeships as building contracts rarely last for the full duration of a recognised apprenticeship course.

Thanks to SWSA, colleges like The Bournemouth & Poole College will link up with construction companies to provide a wealth of young talent for sites and firms that need them.

After three years the apprentices emerge fully qualified  having worked with a range of organisations who call on their skills at various times.

Launching the scheme at the college’s construction training  centre, The Fulcrum, in Tower Park, was the leader of Bournemouth Borough Council John Beesley. He told a gathering of building industry and local authority leaders:

“Construction is a key industry for Bournemouth and the whole area, and the council is keen to support young people through proper training. It strengthens the industry and places us on the map with a reputation for a highly-skilled workforce. ”

“The scheme will ensure we have a talented workforce to draw on for future projects.”

The SWSA aspires to create 150 new apprenticeships over the next three years across Dorset and Devon.

Alex Bryant said: “It’s quite an honour to be one of the first apprentices to be part of this scheme. I’m looking forward to working with  different companies and gaining experience as I learn my trade.”

One man who knows the benefit of apprenticeship training is Bournemouth’s Director of Housing Parks and Bereavement Services, Gary Josey. Mr Josey trained as an apprentice at The Bournemouth & Poole College in the late seventies and now oversees multi-million pound contracts for the Council.

He said: “The construction industry is a fast moving sector. Companies come in, build up a project and move on to the next one. It means they find it hard to take on young apprentices and commit to training them for three years. A shared system with a training base is an excellent way of addressing this problem.”