Marking a major milestone in delivering specialist skills and support for the construction industry, Sherford Skills Training Centre is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Opening its doors in May 2018, the one-of-a-kind facility has supported over 245 learners through its two main training programmes, supported over 100 apprenticeships, and created over 280 job opportunities. 

Filling workforce gaps and providing new employment opportunities, in just five years the centre has created a lasting legacy, successfully supporting hundreds of apprentices, learners, and armed service leavers, as well as enabling users to retrain and upskill. The centre is also a valuable on-site training facility for the many successful contractors and local businesses helping to build Sherford. 

Boosting the local employment landscape and addressing the skills gap, Sherford Skills Training Centre equips learners with the expertise and experience needed to enter the construction industry. Open to everyone, the centre combines classroom learning with practical experience at one of the region’s largest active construction sites.   

Its flagship training offering is the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) backed onsite training programme and fully-funded Building Heroes courses – which support armed service leavers, veterans, and their families. Of the 28 courses run at the centre so far, more than 70% of learners have gained employment, gone into construction roles, or have continued in further/higher education – many have even gone into jobs on site at Sherford.  

Regarded as a hub of innovation and learning, the creation of the revolutionary £370,000 centre was funded by the Sherford Consortium – a partnership between Taylor Wimpey, Countryside Partnerships and Vistry Housebuilding. The facility features classrooms, a workshop, and an outdoor training area where learners are supported by expert educators and mentors, as well as benefitting from support and networking opportunities with Sherford’s housebuilders and contractors.  

Training programmes and on-site work experience are delivered by education partner City College Plymouth, with support from South Devon College, Plymouth Construction Training Group and Building Plymouth. Collectively, they support the development of skills across trades, including drylining, rendering and painting. 

The centre is also helping to inspire the next generation of construction professionals as part of its ongoing outreach work. By hosting regular workshops, training days and events for local primary and secondary schools, pupils have the opportunity to learn more about construction careers and the many opportunities available.   

The skills centre recently welcomed students from The Prince’s Trust, hosted Building Plymouth Open Sites events, and local schoolchildren attended as part of the Millfields Inspired project Widening Horizons – an innovative programme delivered to the seven local primary schools located within the Stonehouse neighbourhood of Plymouth, to help children understand the impact of education on their life outside of school.  

Steven Ricketts, Sherford Skills Training Scheme Coordinator, said, “It is fantastic to celebrate this milestone moment and the legacy being created. We are extremely proud to be able to demonstrate that the centre is positively supporting the construction industry and changing the lives of its users. By being based at Sherford, learners can put the skills they are learning into practice, increase their understanding of how sites of this scale operate, and have the opportunity to be part of the creation of an award-winning new community. 

“In just five years, the Sherford Skill Training Centre has gone from strength to strength, and it is a privilege to see our graduates go on to secure employment, while filling the many vacancies available in the construction industry – including going on to work at Sherford. The centre is a one-of-a-kind facility, and we are constantly investing in new equipment and resources to ensure learners can develop their skills while learning about the opportunities available in the sector. We get incredible feedback from our learners – who gain new skills and confidence – and we look forward to continuing to build on this success.”