Ploughcroft training centre expands to meet growing demand

A construction training and development centre set up by a West Yorkshire roofing and building maintenance firm has proved so successful that it’s having to expand to meet national demand.

Ploughcroft opened the centre in Brighouse in 2005, primarily to train its own staff in the latest building methods and health and safety requirements.

But within a year the forward-thinking company began to invite other local construction companies through its doors, offering them training packages on their doorstep in a bid to improve industry standards generally.

Its reputation for excellence grew and soon the centre was being asked to take on training for companies as far afield as Belfast, Manchester, London, Exeter and Edinburgh.

Now, after coaching hundreds of trainees, including 500 from Yorkshire alone, Ploughcroft is looking for seven more training staff to help it expand its delivery of courses at the centre and throughout the UK, potentially training up to 1,000 trainees in 2008.

Ploughcroft managing director Chris Hopkins said: “The centre has proved to be massively successful under the management of Denise Cherry.

“Companies are now queuing up to benefit from our expertise and our facilities, which include a roofing training workshop, plastering bays, scaffold tower and solar installation rigs.

“Two years ago a lot of people said I was daft to open the facility to other roofing and buildings firms who were essentially my competition, but I’m passionate about training and health and safety and so was determined to focus on the bigger picture of improving industry standards.

“The initial motivation came from a couple of staff who were trained up in line with the Ploughcroft business systems and values who then moved on to set up their own construction businesses. The success of the centre has paid dividends in terms of raising the profile of Ploughcroft Building Services as a company of excellence. Indeed, in November 2007 we were winners of the National Home Improvement Council’s Training Achievement award in Construction Skills.”

Ploughcroft originally invested £80,000 in the training centre, matched by 25 per cent funding from the Calderdale business grant, which is funded and supported by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and Calderdale Council.

With financial backing from the Learning and Skills Council, it offers NVQ levels 2 and 3 in roofing, slating and tiling, as well as scaffold tower courses and training in manual handling, working at heights, trade skills, supervisory skills and general health and safety.

Earlier this year, Ploughcroft extended its offering by working with support organisation LifeLine Additions to devise a ten-day training course that helped those who have experienced difficulties returning to the labour market learn the basic skills they need to enter employment as roofers or plasterers.

The company is also currently delivering solar panel installation training throughout the UK in association with the National Federation of Roofing Contractors and is preparing to introduce waste management training ahead of the new site Waste Management regulations that come into force in April 2008.

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