News Archive


St. Modwen, the developer of the £400m Locking Parklands development has launched an apprenticeship and work placement scheme with Weston College. The projects first phase will offer a minimum of five students the chance to make their mark on the business and residential community planned at the former RAF Locking site, near Weston-super-Mare.

To kick-start the partnership 18 year old Ben Scoins from nearby Locking Grove has this month started the practical element of his apprenticeship in bricklaying at the 200 acre site, where he will work on the first phase of development which includes the construction of 100 homes, 6,000 sq ft of offices and associated infrastructure. Ben is currently enrolled as a College apprentice studying a Diploma and Level 2 NVQ in Brickwork at Weston College Construction and Engineering Centre of Excellence.

A further four apprentices from the College will also start the practical elements of their apprenticeships in bricklaying, plumbing installations, plastering and carpentry this summer. Each apprentice will gain the Construction Skills Certification Scheme accreditation before starting on site as well as hands on experience over the next 12 months to complete their NVQ certificates and complete their courses. Around 20 College students will also gain work experience placements with St. Modwen or its subcontractors over the course of the next 12 months at the site, also in brickwork, plumbing, plastering, carpentry and general site management, to assist in their future employment potential.

As part of the redevelopment of the site, St. Modwen is committed to working with the landowner, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), to ensure that jobs are created for local people to help grow the local economy. For the first phase of development, St. Modwen will invite tenders from contractors across the four local authority areas of Somerset County Council, Bath and North Somerset Council, North Somerset District Council and South Gloucestershire Council as agreed with West of England Partnership’s West at Work project. Around 95 percent of all waste materials on site will be reclaimed and diverted from land fill and with all site materials, if possible, sourced from within the South West region, with drainage and concrete currently coming from the Bristol and Weston area.

Simon Ganley, Construction Manager for St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, said: “We are excited to be working with Weston College to give young people the practical skills needed to make a start in their careers in construction. Over the course of the scheme’s development we will be creating 2,000 jobs and look forward to seeing some of the apprentices benefit from this job creation.

“Locking Parklands is a 20 year scheme that is set to become a new commercial and residential community for Weston and we want local people to play a part in its development. We are also offering work placements to local people, giving them the chance to develop the necessary skills to be able to gain new employment.”

Steve Caldwell, Service Leader, Construction, Weston College, said: “This is a really exciting venture for construction students at Weston College. In Aug 2010 we opened the new Centre of Excellence at the South West Skills Campus which is a fantastic training venue for learners of all ages, wanting to develop skills in the construction industry. Because of the downturn in the industry many of our students struggled to find a work-based training route last year. Now, with St Modwen’s support at least 6 local people will be able to work towards an industry recognised level 2 apprenticeship in their chosen trade.”

The HCA, the landowner, has invested around £6m in this first phase of development, taking the total level of its investment in Locking Parklands to more than £12.2m since 2002. One of the conditions of the investment is that local residents are employed and trained on the site during the development phase, providing jobs and an economic boost for the area.

David Warburton, HCA head of area, said: “Locking Parklands is about providing employment and business opportunities and boosting the local economy as well as high quality new homes. We have recently seen some exciting progress in the area, with the start of work on 600 sq m of employment space and the provision of serviced land for a further 1,400 sq m alongside the development of 100 new homes. This is in addition to the announcement of Leisure Dome’s plans to deliver a major new ski facility on the site.

“The hiring of these new apprentices demonstrates in a real and vivid way the difference that the job opportunities will make on the lives of local people. It’s great news that they will play a part in delivering this project.”