Introducing a new class of academy for housing and construction!

The innovative new EN:Able Futures Academy for Housing and Infrastructure

EN:Able Futures were pleased to welcome representatives of organisations providing host assignments to meet the first cohort of apprentices in the classroom of their innovative and unique EN:Able Futures Housing and Infrastructure Academy serving Yorkshire and the Humber.

Plugging the skills gap

Building on their highly successful Shared Apprenticeship Service, EN:Able Futures have specifically designed the Apprenticeship Academy to address the major skills shortages in the industry, particularly affecting the professional/technical areas, and to develop future industry leaders.

Parent company Efficiency North, a member of the NFB, has established the academy to deliver a specialised apprenticeship programme in partnership with quality industry partners and Leeds College of Building as training provider.

On Wednesday 24 October, Phil Smith of Humber Bridge and Martin Sherman of Pickering and Ferens Homes, representatives from two of the five organisations working in partnership on this unique venture, joined the apprentices, Efficiency North Chief Executive Lee Parkinson, EN:Able Futures Board Chair Richard Hinchliffe and tutors from Leeds College of Building in the new Academy classroom.  Efficiency North have created the classroom within their offices at Sovereign Court, Meadowhall, Sheffield, to give students a real sense of belonging to the workforce and be part of the working environment – an important aspect of the experience.

The first two cohorts of apprentices are now fully engaged in a two-year programme, studying on a block release basis for a Level 3 qualification in Construction and the Built Environment. To enrich their apprenticeship journey, they’re all working on hosted assignments with contractors and consultants including the Together Housing Group, Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, NPS Leeds, Pickering and Ferens and Humber Bridge, who are all committed to providing innovative career path opportunities to young people to help address the current skills shortages in the construction and housing sectors.

Industry led

As an industry-led academy programme, the programme includes contractor-led targeted CPD sessions alongside professional mentoring to ensure that the apprentices get a fully-rounded training and development package. The Yorkshire Builders Federation are also valued partners offering support for the apprentices.

The young people are studying Built Environment & Engineering Services Faculty - (HE, Construction Design & Management) under the curriculum taught by Leeds College of Building for an initial 2 weeks followed by 1 week a month for the academic year.

Developing future industry leaders

Lee Parkinson, Chief Executive of Efficiency North, who originally devised the Academy in direct response to industry needs, commented: “I am really pleased to see that our vision for the academy has now come to fruition and the apprentices are a great advert for the academy and what it has been established to achieve. Through modern, industry led higher level apprenticeships young people can earn as they learn in ambitious and highly motivated cohorts. Learning in a business environment quickly develops their skills and is further enhanced through industry led briefings and careers advice. It is nearly 30 years since I embarked on my career as an apprentice and I am hopeful that amongst our academy cohorts the business leaders of the future will emerge during the next 30 years.”

Catherine Bishop, EN:Able Futures’ Employment and Skills Executive, who has led on establishing the Academy, commented: “We are delighted to welcome the apprentices to our organisation and are sure that this will be the beginning of a positive journey for them all.”

George Paterson, Group Director of Assets of the Together Housing Group, who are hosting 6 apprentices in this cohort, commented: “Together Housing are delighted to have 6 young apprentices in the EN:Able Futures Academy. As one of the largest RSLs in the North we see this as a fantastic opportunity to develop our construction leaders of the future, and the experience and training on offer in the academy is ideal to give young people a great start to what should hopefully lead to a rewarding career for all of them.”

Luke Charlesworth, Construction Manager apprentice, hosted by Together Housing Group, commented: “I really enjoyed college. I enjoyed the environment of meeting new people from other companies. I mostly enjoyed the maths as I felt comfortable with that and helping others understand it too.”’

If you’re interested in being part of this exciting new venture please contact Catherine Bishop


EN:Able Futures also leads the delivery of the Yorkshire and Humber shared apprenticeship scheme, which provides a quality solution to apprenticeship recruitment when employers may not have the resources or the work pipeline to commit to taking on apprentices for the full duration of their apprenticeship.

Through the Academy, each apprentice receives:

  • Nationally recognised advanced qualifications. All participants will be working towards their full Diploma Level 3 in Construction Contracting Operations, along with an NVQ in the same area. 
  • The opportunity to work with one host organisation and become embedded in their culture; or work on rotation roles within different host organisations, giving them an in-depth knowledge of the sector and a more informed opinion of which roles they may like to progress into. 
  • High quality and impartial information, advice and guidance before, during and after their apprenticeship to ensure they progress in a way which suits their individual goals.
  • Full pastoral care throughout the programme to overcome any arising barriers to education and to support the apprentice both inside and outside of the learning environment. 
  • Real progression opportunities for careers with industry partners, along with support to access higher qualifications once completed.
  • Access to expert industry partners, sharing their career pathways and inspiring stories to enhance each apprenticeship experience.

The Author

Written by Liz Butcher

Efficiency North group marketing and communications lead.

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