Esh Construction invests in workforce of the future as Yorkshire momentum builds

Esh Construction invests in workforce of the future as Yorkshire momentum builds

Two new apprentices have been welcomed to Esh Construction as the contractor is set to deliver more than 500 homes across the Yorkshire and Humber region in the next two years.

Employee upskilling is also high on the agenda with nine current employees set to embark into higher education this month, and eight current apprentices progressing onto the next level of their training.

The investment into both new and sustained talent will assist with both future growth plans for Esh and combatting the industry skills shortage. Stuart Leslie, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, said: “It is vitally important to the industry, as well as the growth and sustainability of Esh, that we invest in apprentices, trainees and graduates across all disciplines within the business, to enable them to pursue long-term careers in the construction industry. It will not only provide the business with the skills to continue to drive growth but encourage our employees to strive for development and know that they are able to grow with us.”

Among the recent recruits is apprentice, Anna Capps, aged 20 from Leeds. Joining as a trainee technical manager, Anna will assist the wider team in overseeing the design and build of schemes, right through from concept stage to delivery. Anna is currently working across £28.1 million worth of affordable housing developments, specifically Pemberton Road in Castleford, Beech Hill in Halifax, and Lytton Road in Sheffield.

Entering the business with no previous experience in construction, Anna will be undertaking a degree in Construction Management at Leeds Beckett University alongside her role. She said: “I chose to apply for the trainee role because I can gain experience learning on the job while putting into practice the knowledge I will gain from my university course – going to full-time university gives you the understanding but then you lack on-the-job experience. I’ll have five years’ experience in this role by the time I graduate, which is a huge benefit in the industry.”

Esh is working closely with Shared Apprenticeship Scheme, EN:Able Futures, which is managed by Efficiency North. Five shared apprentices recently joined the Queen’s Award-winning contractor, and more recruitment is in the pipeline. Trainee site manager, Dan Vokes, aged 20, was recruited via EN:Able Futures in July to work on the 105-home Beech Hill development, as well as the 82-home Pemberton Road project.

The trainee’s interest in construction came through chance, while labouring on sites during the summer break ahead of beginning a degree in physiotherapy. Aiming to become an experienced site manager, he will kickstart his career by studying a Level 4 Site Supervisor qualification at Leeds College of Building.

Leslie added: “Esh is proud of its ‘grow your own’ culture, and the aligned use of EN:Able Futures has allowed us to provide a well-rounded training experience while ensuring the recruits receive any pastoral and educational support, should they need it.”

Among those members of the workforce looking to upskill is Matthew Bland, a 32-year-old assistant technical manager who played a key role in the recently completed £9.5m Lady Ida Lodge, a 64-apartment extra care facility in Cookridge, as well as a 60-home extra care development in Grimsby known as Burchester Court.

Matthew is due to commence a HNC in Construction Management course at Leeds College of Building, with plans to progress onto a HND course immediately after. Starting his career as a bricklayer when he was only 16 years-old, Matthew is seeing a bright future for his development and progression following three years with Esh Construction.

Forging these new career paths for its employees will pay dividends for Esh as they continue to expand. Entering the year with a record order book and investing in the future of its workforce will help them thrive as the construction sector recovers into 2022.