Economy Minister visits Persimmon Academy to meet next generation of workers in South Wales
10 February 2023
The Minister for Economy has visited a purpose-built construction academy to see how Persimmon Homes, in partnership with Bridgend College, is developing the next generation of workers in South Wales.
Vaughan Gething MS was given a tour of the ‘Persimmon Academy’, which sees apprentices develop their skills at a bespoke construction and learning facility at our development in Llanilid, near Ponytclun.
The visit coincides with National Apprenticeship Week, and the Minister had the opportunity to meet with the Welsh housebuilder’s latest intake of apprentice bricklayers and carpenters. He was given a tour of the site and observed students being taught in the onsite classroom before being shown more practical elements of the training at the bespoke construction workshop.
Academy apprentices were on hand to talk about their experiences, while Mr Gething also found out more about Persimmon’s innovative partnership with the College, which is creating quality career opportunities in the South Wales construction industry. The Economy Minister also took the opportunity to try his hand at bricklaying under the expert guidance of one of the apprentices, Ethan Seymour.
Earlier this week, Vaughan Gething called on businesses to consider taking on apprentices to help boost industry in Wales. The Welsh Government believes the creation of 125,000 quality apprenticeships would help to drive economic growth, generate jobs as well as address skills shortages in certain sectors.
Following the visit to the Persimmon Academy, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething MS, said:
“The Welsh Government is fully committed to investing in the lives of young people to help them achieve their full potential. So it was a real pleasure to meet the apprentices at the Persimmon Academy today and to see how they’re gaining the vital practical experience they need at the academy before they enter the world of work.
“We are proud of our record on delivering our flagship apprenticeships programme in Wales, which is a vital part of our flagship Young Person’s Guarantee. That’s because apprenticeships increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop transferable skills in the workplace, which helps improve their lives.
“They help tackle skills shortages and gaps in priority sectors that are so important to driving productivity and economic growth. They’re also vital in supporting our net zero ambitions, the every-day foundational economy and our public services.
“I very much encourage people and employers across Wales to consider the benefits of apprenticeships and see how they can make a real contribution to their futures.”
The Minister’s visit was led by Persimmon’s Managing Director for West Wales, Andy Edwards, and Regional Quality Director, Carl Davey, while Vaughan Gething also met with Bridgend College’s Principal, Simon Pirotte, and other representatives from the two organisations.
The initiative between builds on a successful relationship that has developed between the two organisations over the past five years, and which has created over 150 new job opportunities in construction across South Wales.
Commenting on the visit, Persimmon’s Managing Director for West Wales, Andy Edwards said:
“It was a pleasure to welcome the Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, to the Persimmon Academy, and to give a tour of the bespoke training facilities we have to offer.
“Our innovative training initiative at Llanilid is creating significant career opportunities for local people, and is a core part of our vision to become the nation’s leading housebuilder.
“Apprentices deliver huge value for our business as they bring new skills, energy and ways of working, which helps us build hundreds of new quality homes every year in communities across South Wales.
“The partnership with Bridgend College is fundamentally important for the future of our business, and is helping us secure a strong and talented long-term pipeline of local apprentices.
“We look forward to continue to enhance the Academy and the first-class learning environment so we can produce the next generation of local construction workers in South Wales.”
Academy apprentices work towards a Higher National Certificate qualification that includes the ground-breaking ‘Persimmon Way’, which delivers a holistic approach to construction quality including enhanced technical standards.
This year, alongside the College, the housebuilder has also designed a ‘management apprenticeship’ course that is bespoke to Persimmon, and will train future staff for the company’s Welsh developments with qualifications in construction and site management.
Simon Pirotte, Principal and CEO of Bridgend College, commented:
"We are delighted to have welcomed Vaughan Gething MS to the Persimmon Academy and showcase the invaluable opportunities that our partnership has created for students.
“Apprenticeships allow our students to develop essential skills whilst receiving on-the-job training and, through our innovative partnership with Persimmon Homes, we are offering apprentices a route to an exceptional career pathway."