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Apprentices' work recognised at £26.6m extra care development

Apprentices working on site at Maple West, the new £26.6m extra care development in Chell were asked by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to lay the final bricks in recognition of their contribution in the construction of the 140-apartment scheme.

Since the development began a total of eight (8) apprentices from across Stoke-on-Trent have been learning skills on site, working on one of the largest housing projects in the region under the guidance of Seddon and local contractors, including bricklayers Lench.

Two of the apprentices, nineteen-year-old Sam Jefferson from Newcastle-under-Lyme and seventeen-year-old Robert Crompton from Atherton, were on site to lay the final bricks, alongside Seddon’s Project Manager Dave Newman, plus Sarah Houghton-Grimshaw and Steve Hitchmough from Your Housing Group. Maple West is now open and welcoming its first residents.

Sam and Rob were both recruited through local social enterprise PM Training, which has more than 20 years’ experience in preparing young people for work and apprenticeships. Sam was the first apprentice on site, and Rob was the last apprentice to join the Maple West team. Sam has undertaken a bricklaying apprenticeship with local bricklayers Lench, and has now completed his level 2 qualification in brickwork. Rob, from Seddon, is a plumbing apprentice.

Robert Crompton, Apprentice, said: “Before I started working at Seddon’s I was studying for a BTEC in Sports but decided that I really wanted a career in the construction industry, so when I got an apprenticeship with Seddon I was thrilled! I have learnt a lot even in the short time that I have been here and working on Maple West gave me the chance to see the end of a project and how it is managed, I’m looking forward to my future within Seddon’s.”

Steve Hitchmough, from Your Housing Group, said: “It is great to speak to Sam and Rob about their experience. Working on site at Maple West has clearly had a positive impact on these young apprentices. We hope that as we move forward Maple West continues to have a positive impact on the local community.”

The roles were created by Sapphire, a consortium created to deliver 390 extra care apartments across three sites in Stoke-on-Trent. Builder and developer Seddon have delivered the Maple West scheme.

Richard Barnett, Asset Manager for Sapphire partner organisation Kajima Partnerships, said: “It is great to see the final bricks laid at Maple West and these young apprentices should be immensely proud of their role in the completion of the project. Maple West was developed with the Chell community very much in mind and we look forward to seeing ongoing benefits for the local area.”

As well as creating apprenticeships, the development has brought a range of job opportunities to the area including administrators and labouring positions. In addition to local jobs, more than 65 per cent of materials were sourced from the area. The consortium, appointed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, is a partnership between Your Housing Group, Eric Wright Group and Kajima Partnerships Limited, with Eric Wright Group constructing 250 apartments at the two other Sapphire sites in Abbey Hulton and Blurton.

Councillor Ann James, the city council’s cabinet member for health and social care, said: “It’s fantastic news that local apprentices have helped to complete the Maple West complex – ensuring the development is an integral part of the community.