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Apprentices help build animal shelter for Surrey Docks Farm

Apprentices at the Southwark Construction Skills Centre have been supporting Surrey Docks Farm, a working community farm and education charity in South East London, in building a shelter for its animals.

The Skills Centre, which has trained more than 10,000 local residents and helped create more than 3,000 jobs in the construction sector, has previously worked with Surrey Docks Farm to improve disabled access and was keen to support the charity further, as well as build a commitment to social responsibility among its apprentices.

Surrey Docks Farm was first established in 1975 and is now on a 2.2-acre site on the river Thames at South Wharf.

The Farm is run by Surrey Docks Farm Provident Society Limited and provides a range of farming and educational experiences, including giving adults with learning disabilities, opportunities to gain confidence and independence through the development of horticulture and retail skills.

With the support of construction specialists, Keltbray, which provided a range of building materials, five apprentices from Southwark Construction Skills Centre built a shelter base for Surrey Docks Farm’s donkeys. Donkeys do not have a natural build-up of grease to make their coat waterproof and need somewhere to shelter from the British weather.

We would like to give a huge thank-you to the Southwark Construction Skills Centre for their continued support of the Farm. We're delighted to get the donkeys hard standing area completed so quickly and look forward to further projects with the apprentices.

The field shelter was funded through a memorial donation on behalf of someone who regularly visited and enjoyed the Farm. It's wonderful that we can complete all the work in a community-focused way and get on with this, rather than wait on the groundwork. The donkeys (and all of our team) are delighted by this improvement to their living quarters!"

Gemma Hooper - Manager at Surrey Docks Farm

John White, Director of The Skills Centre added:

The apprentices worked extremely hard, and I am delighted that we were able to support such a great cause. We know apprenticeships work and it was great to see both them and the farm benefiting from their efforts. Our apprentices not only gained skills valuable on large construction sites, but they also saw how they can use their skills to enrich their local communities.

Now that the Southwark Construction Skills Centre is moving from its original base at Elephant Park to a new home at Canada Water, we will be closer than ever to the Farm. We thoroughly enjoyed working with them and look forward to having our apprentices helping out again very soon."

If you have any questions about the new training opportunities at Canada Water, please don’t hesitate to call 0203 621937 or email enquiries@theskillscentre.co.uk.


Open Day offers free training and local job opportunities for Bermondsey residents

Bermondsey residents are invited to learn more about free construction training opportunities at an Open Day on the site of the former Thorowgoods department store on Southwark Park Road, Saturday May 8th from 8.30am to 1.30pm.

Local people who may have recently been made redundant, are looking to retrain, return to work following furlough or just an extended work break are invited to come along to find out about the training available. The Open Day will of course be fully Covid compliant.

Up to 500 Bermondsey residents will be offered free construction and digital skills training at the Southwark Construction Skills Centre in the coming months, thanks to a partnership between The Skills Centre, The Blue Bermondsey, Big Local Works and Southwark Council.

Those taking part in the training will have direct access to job opportunities at the £500million redevelopment of the former Peek Frean biscuit factory, as well as at ongoing works at Canada Water and Old Kent Road developments.

John White MBE, Director of Southwark Construction Skills Centre (SCSC), said: “Here at SCSC, we have trained hundreds of people from all over London since opening in 2016, and have helped them start their new careers in construction.

“With so many big construction projects going on in and around Southwark at the moment, we think it’s important that the local community benefits from these job opportunities as much as possible and so we are looking to help secure local training and jobs, for local people.

“The range of opportunities in construction may surprise some people – come along to find out. No previous experience is required as we have a programme of pre-employability training to get people started on their new career in construction.”

The Southwark Construction Skills Centre also includes a community digital classroom at the site of former high street department store Thorowgoods on Southwark Park Road. This facility will be open to all Southwark residents and offer digital skills training, again to help those who might find themselves out of work because of the pandemic, or in need of digital refresher courses.

For more information about the pop-up training facility, please visit www.theskillscentre.co.uk


Southwark Construction Skills Centre Moves To Canada Water

  • After five successful years working with constructor Lendlease at Elephant Park, the community-centred training facility is moving to Canada Water
  • During its time at Elephant Park, Southwark Construction Skills Centre has trained more than 10,000 local residents and helped create 3,000 jobs

Southwark Construction Skills Centre (SCSC) is moving from its original base at Elephant Park, to a new home at Canada Water.

SCSC has been at the site in Elephant Park since 2016 and has been supported by major contractor Lendlease in providing training and upskilling to those interested in a career in construction. During this time, SCSC has contributed £40million in social value to the local economy, training more than 10,000 residents, and helped to create more than 3,000 jobs in the construction sector.

Now the community-centred skills and training centre, supported by Southwark Council and run by The Skills Centre, is set to move to its new home at Hawker House, Canada Water in April, in support of the British Land Canada Water Masterplan.

Jon Howlin, Managing Director of The Skills Centre, which runs SCSC, said of the move: “The aim was always to move the training facility to support additional projects in Southwark and this is the first move it has made since opening in 2016 – and we’re hugely excited about becoming a meaningful part of the community at Canada Water.

“It has been an honour to work with the Elephant Park community and to help so many people learn new skills and train to gain great jobs in the construction industry – we’ve simply had the best experience.

“The Skills Centre now looks forward to doing the same again for the community at Canada Water.”

SCSC will be offering the same opportunities at Canada Water as it did in Elephant Park, with employment prospects, apprenticeships and pre-employment training for local residents, as well as continuing its schools’ programme; inspiring Southwark school children to consider the varied jobs on offer through a career in construction.

The move is a joint initiative between The Skills Centre, Southwark Council, British Land, and Art Invest.

Councillor Rebecca Lury, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Business & Jobs, said: “Thousands of our residents have walked through the doors of Southwark Construction Skills Centre at Elephant Park to receive expert training and support, with many going on to secure real jobs at sites across the Borough.

“With a 20-year programme of construction work at Canada Water, one of the Council’s largest regeneration schemes, this is an ideal location for creating an exciting training venue for our residents. I’m excited to see SCSC and The Skills Centre go from strength to strength, with the help of new partners British Land and Art-Invest to create opportunities for residents from across the Borough.”

Canada Water Masterplan is a joint initiative between Southwark Council and British Land, working closely with Art-Invest, to develop a 53-acre scheme that will deliver workspace to accommodate around 20,000 jobs, retail, leisure, entertainment, education and community spaces. There will be around 3,000 new homes, of which 35% will be affordable, as well as 12 acres of open space and a new town centre for Southwark; the first new town centre built in London for more than 100 years.

Symon Bacon, Development Director for British Land, said of SCSC supporting the Canada Water Masterplan: “We’re delighted to contribute bringing the Southwark Construction Skills Centre to Canada Water. The Centre will provide a local front-door and resource of information, training and guidance for residents interested in accessing some of the many construction employment and training opportunities that the Canada Water Masterplan will generate.

“We know there is demand and interest locally, and we’ve already been able to support several local unemployed residents into training and roles with our enabling contractors. We look forward to working closely with The Skills Centre to maximise the number of residents from the local area and wider Southwark growing their skills and being part of delivering the Canada Water Masterplan.”

Construction of the new centre in Canada Water will begin in April, with a planned opening on June 21st. Opening hours will be from 8.30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, with community-based activities planned for Saturdays.

Ali Abbas, Managing Director and Head of UK at Art-Invest Real Estate said, “We were drawn to Canada Water due to its thriving community and a real sense of opportunity, which we have been eager to both experience and support first-hand since we committed to the gateway Canada Water Dockside site neighbouring the wider Canada Water Masterplan in July 2020.

“Through extensive meetings with the local community, albeit virtually, we have heard how much of a positive difference the Construction Skills Centre makes to Southwark and how this will truly benefit Canada Water residents in the future.

“We are thrilled that we have been able to contribute to such a key commitment early on as we look to provide a further 10,000 jobs in our development of Canada Water Dockside. We very much look forward to working further with Southwark Council, British Land, The Skills Centre and local residents in advancing the Borough’s post-pandemic recovery.”

Local residents will also have access to a digital library, basic digital training as well as the use of computer equipment, which will all be free. The centre will be run in a Covid-safe way, with Covid safety training also provided.

If you have any questions about the construction of the SCSC, or if you have any enquiries about the new training opportunities at Canada Water, please don’t hesitate to call 0203 621937 or email enquiries@theskillscentre.co.uk.


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