MPs back national skills plan from Ilkeston brickwork boss

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An Ilkeston-born builder who has plans to establish his own national construction skills academy has won support for the idea in Parliament.

Ian Hodgkinson, of Hodgkinson Brickwork Contractors, took a team of his apprentices to Westminster on Tuesday, May 3, for Building Britain’s Future—an event focused on ways to solve a national shortage of skilled construction workers.

Ian used the occasion to outline his plans for the National Construction Academy, which he is looking to roll out following a successful year-long pilot scheme in Derby.

Hodgkinson apprentices were granted a rare honour when they were given permission to build a brick wall on a lawn beneath Big Ben.

Ian added: “My team will remember it for the rest of their lives.

“We are absolutely delighted with how the event wen. It was fantastic, and will have gone a long way to show to young people why the construction industry is a great career option.”

Apprenticeships minister Nick Boles MP was among the politicians to attend the event and said: “We will always have a need for the traditional skills of bricklayers and plumbers.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Derby North MP Amanda Solloway and housing minister Brandon Lewis MP joined more than 100 construction professionals to discuss the industry’s skills shortage.

The National Construction Academy has been formed with training provider 3AAA, and aims to open 40 centres within five years.