November 29th, 2019

In celebration of its apprentice bursary scheme NCBF (Northern Counties Builders Federation) came together with trainees and employers who have benefited from the scheme for a celebratory lunch.

Member companies, Walter Thompson, Surgo, Classic Masonry, Historic Property Restorations Ltd, and MJ Phoenix were in attendance as they all employ apprentices funded via the NCBF grant.

NCBF member companies have the chance to bid for funding to recruit an apprentice and could each receive up to £23k depending on the apprentice’s age and length of qualification.

The scheme, which is in its second year, guarantees at least two years’ employment after the apprenticeship is complete.  

Ken Parkin, chair of NCBF, said:

“NCBF is delighted to have welcomed member companies and their apprentices out for this celebratory lunch.

“Since the recession, there has been a severe decline in the amount of SME businesses training apprentices. NCBF decided to offer its members the chance to bid for apprentice bursaries, which will help fund the training of their apprentices.

“It’s great to talk to so many young people and hear about how much they are enjoying life in the industry, and it’s really satisfying to know that without the NCBF bursary these young people would simply not be working for these companies.”

Companies awarded the grant this year were MJ Phoenix and Son, a building, civil engineering and maintenance company located in Gateshead and Classic Masonry, a stone specialist based in North Shields.  

Both companies have decided to use the money to not only take on new recruits but also assist them in promoting existing employees.

Keegan Thompson 24, who is already employed by Classic Masonry has been promoted to the position of general operative within the company. Talking about his promotion Keegan said:

“I’m honoured to have been promoted, I’ve been with the company for two years and it’s fantastic that I’ve been acknowledged in this way. I’ve just became a Dad of twins too so it’s an exciting time for me!”.

Reece Richardson, 18, employed by M.J Phoenix and Son is going to Newcastle college to study for a joinery L2 apprenticeship. He said:

“The time spent working for my employer has enabled me to gain vital skills and I’m excited to be improving on that by attending college.

Membership of NCBF has many benefits including:

  • automatic membership of CENE and CAN
  • being able to share problems and talk to like-minded peers about issues affecting the sector through our membership
  • the opportunity to apply to the NCBF bursary scheme for one of two bursaries available
  • each year to assist with the employment of apprentices by funding 70% of their employment costs
  • assistance with the promotion of their organisation through the NCBF website, where you can provide company information and a link to your website
  • plus the award of up to £1,000 training grant each year – cheques are presented at the Annual General Meeting.