The benefits to the local economy of a £23 million investment to deliver new retirement accommodation in Derbyshire continues with contractor Willmott Dixon providing six apprenticeships.

Josh Hobley, Callum Hurt, Luke Yeomans and Nathan Mills from Chesterfield, Andrew Bond from Sheffield and Ross Hopkinson from Alfreton will combine their building maintenance apprenticeship studies at Chesterfield College with hands-on work at three Willmott Dixon projects at Potters Place at Foolow Avenue in Chesterfield, Market Street in Clay Cross and Cressy Fields in Alferton. The three schemes will provide 197 new retirement homes for Chevin Housing Association, a member of the Together Housing Group.

The apprenticeships are part of an agreement with Chesterfield Borough and North East Derbyshire District Councils to ensure local people benefit from skills opportunities on the projects.

It’s the latest way Willmott Dixon is driving skills in the construction industry after it invested £1 million this year to open the 4Life Academy in Birmingham, a national training centre for 2,000 people a year to learn new skills.

Sue Lewis, Group Head of Supported Housing at Chevin Housing Association, says: “This is great news for six young people who will benefit from our projects and learn new skills. Apprenticeships provide a real stepping stone for a successful future career path and our we’re proud this work will provide two years of ‘hands on’ experience for Josh, Callum, Nathan, Luke, Andrew and Ross.”

Charlie Scherer, Chief Operating Officer at Willmott Dixon’s housing company said: “As a family owned company, we place great importance on helping young people develop skills and expertise that they can use to build successful careers. At a time when the construction industry has faced extremely challenging economic conditions, it is important we invest in young people so that our industry has the right skills and technical know-how to be able to respond the pipeline of work that will emerge as we begin to come through these difficult times.”

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Councillor Clare Neill said: “Derbyshire County Council is committed to supporting our young people into work. Apprenticeships like this are a great way of doing this. I’m pleased that our investment in extra care has been able to reap these added benefits.”

Chevin Housing Association is Derbyshire County Council’s chosen partner to build and manage three Extra Care schemes in Chesterfield, Alfreton and Clay Cross. Working with Willmott Dixon and Latham’s Architects, Chevin Housing Association is delivering the following schemes:

• 55 two-bedroom apartments and communal facilities with parking and gardens at Potters Place in Foolow Avenue, Chesterfield;
• 52 apartments and communal facilities on the Cressy Fields site in Cressy Road, Alfreton;
• 90 apartments with communal facilities and day care centre on former Clay Cross School site in Market Street in Clay Cross.