Pochin’s announce apprenticeship partnership

THE contractor appointed on Hanley’s Smithfield scheme has announced a partnership with Stoke on Trent College, helping to build the foundations for students who want to pursue a career in construction.

Pochin’s Ltd will hold regular careers sessions at the college and host monthly site visits with students who are considering a job in the industry, as the hotel and apartment portions of the scheme start to take shape.

The construction company has already held an informal Q&A for trainees at Stoke on Trent College, speaking to them about the work they are doing in Stoke-on-Trent and what it takes to break into the sector.

It is hoped that the partnership will encourage students to consider a career in construction, and take up opportunities for hands-on work experience with Pochin’s.

Iain Grant, Project Manager at Smithfield, said: “Stoke on Trent College offers fantastic vocational courses and qualifications, so it felt very natural that Pochin’s should forge a partnership with them during our time here in Stoke-on-Trent.

“Our monthly site visits are being held with a view to assisting current construction students with their assignments, but we’re also keen to get as many new trainees on board as we can.

“We want to help local students understand that construction is a viable, exciting career choice and that the opportunities within the sector go far beyond bricklaying.”

Pochin’s has already taken on Rhys Griffiths, who joined site on 17 September and assists in areas such as carrying out quality checks with site engineers; conducting daily production checks and helping Smithfield’s general goreman in managing the site appearance, housekeeping and safety. It is hoped that in the new year, the number of apprentices on site will increase, and will be taken on for disciplines including plumbing, bricklaying, joinery and more.

Peter Walters, Construction Team Leader at Stoke on Trent College, said: “We’re delighted that Pochin’s are offering our students practical site visits and guidance throughout their construction studies. The course at Stoke on Trent College is already so strong, and the expertise of a national company such as Pochin’s can only serve to enhance it.

“Smithfield is an exciting project the likes of which Stoke has never seen before, and so it’s a fantastic opportunity for aspiring construction workers to get involved with. Pochin’s knowledge of the sector will be an invaluable resource for our students.”

The £170m Smithfield scheme will bring more than 1.2m sq. ft. of retail, office and hotel space to the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, creating a vibrant new mixed-use quarter in Hanley and more than 4,200 jobs. As well as Grade A office space, it will comprise a Hilton Garden Inn hotel – the first time the global brand has ever been brought to the region – and 151 build-to-let apartments (another first for the city).

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