New construction skills campus opens in West Leeds

Forging Futures graduation: Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Bob Gettings with representatives of CEG, Wates and Forging Futures Learners

A new campus delivering skills, training and education projects in West Leeds has been officially opened with help from the Lord Mayor of Leeds.

Developers CEG has opened its new Forging Futures Campus at its Kirkstall Forge development.

CEG and Wates Construction launched the first campus in 2017, working closely with Leeds College of Building and Leeds City Council. It has grown to achieve more than £11million in social value, helping to train the city’s future architects, bricklayers, civil engineers, joiners, plumbers and electricians.

As a result of its success, a new campus has opened providing expanded classrooms and facilities as well as a safe, live construction area which will help to facilitate site visits, curriculum projects and hands-on mentoring support. 

At the launch event for the new campus, the latest cohort of young people to graduate from Forging Futures’ Employability Skills Course, which is delivered in conjunction with Icon Group and SCL, were presented with their certificates by the Leeds Lord Mayor, Councillor Bob Gettings.

The regular Employability Skills Courses helps young people not in education, employment or training learn new skills, build confidence and identify routes to training and employment, as well as securing Construction Skills Awards, their CSCS card training and a Level 1 Employability and Functional Skills Qualification.

Almost 150 young people who were unemployed, or not in school or vocational training have now completed the course, with many moving into apprenticeships, jobs or further education. 

A further 450 participants have benefited from the curriculum delivery, site visits, workplace engagement, CV workshops and mock interviews in partnership with several Leeds schools, colleges and universities.

The Forging Futures Campus is located within the construction area of the multi-million pound Kirkstall Forge development site and provides vocational training, site visits and work experience for students, local people and young people not in education, employment or training. 

Alongside the campus, a base has been provided for the River Stewardship Company which provides watercourse maintenance and improvement projects throughout Yorkshire. They will work closely with the team at Forging Futures Campus in providing hands-on mentoring and work experience.

Peter Marsden from the River Stewardship Company said: “It gives us a chance to be involved with the family of companies associated with the Campus and enables us to promote the environment together with the enhancing of waterways in Yorkshire. We are looking forward to collaboratively working with the Forging Futures campus and creating a safe haven for the tuition of students in the area.”

Lucinda Yeadon, Community Liaison Manager at CEG, said: “We’re passionate about providing long-term benefits to the local community, and Forging Futures Campus has proved an incredibly successful way to deliver new skills, training and job opportunities.

“We’re so proud of those who have taken part and have seen such a positive impact on their lives. The investment into the new, larger campus will ensure we can continue to deliver our social value aspirations and help young people better access the jobs market.”

The event was also attended by other key partners who contribute to the Forging Futures programme including social enterprises The Skill Mill, Canal Connections, EN:Able Futures, Slung Low and members of the local community. 

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