Winvic Construction Ltd, a leading main contractor that specialises in the design and delivery of multi-sector construction and civil engineering projects, and its longstanding client, IM Properties, has welcomed the first 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, which includes a focus on bringing forward training and employment opportunities.
The Mercia Park ‘Future of Construction’ Training Centre comprises an onsite construction training facility with practical outdoor space, which is not only available for Winvic and its breadth of subcontractors to use, but also colleges, universities and specialist training providers in the construction industry are being invited to make use of the facilities. All seven participants on the inaugural traffic management training course impressed, so much so that they were offered employment with various traffic management contractors at the end of the course.
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, who is 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 means 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.”
Helen Madden, at Vocation Training, said: “The Mercia Park ‘Future of Construction’ Training Centre that Winvic has created is a much needed, flexible space that is perfect for a wide range of hands-on and classroom based training courses. It’s an amazing facility and the best that we’ve ever had access to in relation to outdoor space, as its size allows for real-life working conditions to be assembled and practical scenarios carried out, and also because candidates get to experience the feel of a live construction site environment. It was clear that this hugely benefitted the traffic management training participants over the course of the training and it’s great news that all seven of them gained employment.”
Richard Turbill, Operations Director at TSM, added: “We have been working as one of Winvic’s subcontractor partners for seven years and we feel honoured to have been part of the launch of the Mercia Park ‘Future of Construction’ Training Centre. Delivering the training was straightforward and efficient because the outdoor area is so spacious, and all the participants were able to get hands-on and therefore learn more quickly. All proved themselves to be worthy of job offers and Anthony who is now on site with TSM as a Trainee Operative at Mercia Park has shown great promise and is enjoying his new job.”
Winvic delivered vast civils and infrastructure works to facilitate the 238-acre employment park and is now constructing 2.94 million sq ft global parts logistics centre for Jaguar Land Rover and 550,000 sq ft facility comprising a modern warehouse, cross-dock and offices for global transport and logistics company DSV. Six cameras are positioned round Mercia Park; the projects’ progress can be viewed on Winvic Live.