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Winvic Construction and its long-standing client IM Properties have welcomed the first set of learners inside its new ‘Future of Construction’ Training Centre.

The Centre is located at Mercia Park, Leicestershire, and its opening celebrates the two companies’ joint intention to make a difference to local people’s lives through social value initiatives, including a focus on bringing forward training and employment opportunities.

The ‘Future of Construction’ Training Centre comprises of an onsite construction training facility, with practical outdoor space, which is available for use by colleges, universities, and specialist training providers within the construction industry.

Developer IM Properties has provided the land at its Mercia Park site while Winvic has funded the on-site Training Centre as part of their social value commitments, ensuring the development has a positive impact on surrounding communities. The first vocational course to launch the Training Centre was facilitated by traffic management training specialist Vocation Training Ltd with support to deliver technical qualifications from Up To Speed Training and Assessment, and practical assessments from TSM, one of Winvic’s traffic management subcontractors. The participants were trained over a four-week period and one of the job roles offered – a Trainee Operative position accepted by Anthony Land – is with TSM at Mercia Park.

The construction training facility comprises classroom, kitchen and bathroom facilities in addition to a significant, flexible outside space where a wide range of practical training can be undertaken. The area is securely fenced and dedicated parking spaces mean the Centre can be used safely and independently of the construction works. Nevertheless, due to it being adjacent to the site, access can be granted to enhance training course learnings. The outdoor space enables contractors and training providers to set up practical training scenarios as opposed to relying on models and videos to teach – from traffic management to health and safety, from groundworks to steelworks – while the classroom environment can accommodate approximately 10 people for theoretical training.

Danny Nelson, Winvic’s Director for Industrial, Distribution & Logistics, commented: “As part of our social value commitment for Mercia Park we are delighted to be able to work in partnership with IM Properties and our supply chain to bring benefits the local community by facilitating training and skills development for local people through our bespoke, on-site facility. It’s a real celebration that we have been able to welcome the first learners to Mercia Park, but what makes the launch of the ‘Future of Construction’ Training Centre even more special is that all seven trainees have been given traffic management jobs, illustrating that the outcomes can be quantifiable and local people can benefit from the construction work happening nearby to their homes.

“We’re currently speaking to local and regional education and training providers about making use of the Centre and we have a number of our subcontractors lined up, excited to have a significant and flexible space at their disposal to deliver practical and theoretical training. Construction and vocational training go hand-in-hand – as we know through the apprenticeship and Year In Industry placements we offer – and we believe this Centre is a glimpse into the future how the industry will gain the skilled people it needs.”

Kerry Amory, IM Properties’ Social Value Manager, said: “We’re really pleased to see the training centre finally in action after a long wait during the pandemic for onsite training to return. We know the difference a bespoke facility will make, having witnessed the positive results on our other Leicestershire scheme, Hinckley Park. We’ve drawn on our experience from Hinckley to enhance the employment and skills opportunities at Mercia, which is crucial to us as a business and industry and integral to the delivery of Mercia Park.

“Our values are shared not only by our supply chain but Winvic Construction’s too, with TSM, its Traffic Safety Management company, hiring the trainee operative now on site. We are currently in discussions with local FE colleges and third-party training providers to encourage them to use the new facility and have two further courses booked later in September. We would urge anyone interested in booking the facility to get in touch.”

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