Partnership creates 22 new apprenticeships

Leeds College of Building has joined forces with the Canal & River Trust to create apprenticeships for 22 young people who will now study for qualifications whilst gaining valuable work experience and earning a wage.

The Canal & River Trust is the charity entrusted with the care and maintenance of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales and the apprentices have been enrolled on either the carpentry and joinery or the brickwork courses at the College.

The apprentices will be developing the necessary skills to help protect the important historic fabric of 200 year old locks, bridges and tunnels for future generations. Amongst other tasks the apprentices will be responsible for repairing and re-pointing historic brickwork using lime mortar and refitting oak lock gates, weighing several tonnes each to ensure a watertight seal.

The frameworks which last an average of two years will teach the apprentices a range of craft skills in college, complimented with work-based evidence, functional skills in maths and English as well as employee rights and responsibilities.

All 22 will achieve a level 2 intermediate apprenticeship qualification in wood or trowel occupations and will also benefit from achieving a range of personal learning and thinking skills including self management and team working which will equip them for future employment and learning.

Leeds College of Building, which is the only specialist further education construction college in the UK, has enrolled over 300 apprentices to date this year.


Vaughan Minshull from the College’s Employer Engagement Team said:

It’s our job to actively encourage businesses across a wide range of construction, building and maintenance industries to take on apprentices as well as highlighting the benefits of offering their staff an unlimited range of training and development opportunities.

There are a lot of prestigious features that form part of the heritage of our waterways and developing the required skills to maintain the standards of these features will be crucial for these apprentices. It’s a real privilege to be training the Canal & River Trust apprentices as it gives them the opportunity to be the next generation of people to care for the waterways and play an important and highly skilled role in the day to day repair and maintenance of our waterways.


Vince Moran, Technical and Operations Director at the Canal & River Trust said:

Leeds College of Building was the obvious partner for us when it came to the training of our apprentices. The quality of the courses and standard of teaching is second to none and we are delighted to be offering so many young people the opportunity to learn life-long skills that will help them to protect our valuable waterways for many years to come.


Canal & River Trust Apprentices
Canal & River Trust Apprentices


Anona Potts is one of the 22 apprentices, she said:

I’ve really enjoyed my time so far with the Canal & River Trust. This apprenticeship appealed to me as the Trust is a big organisation and it seemed a great chance to play a part in helping to bring the canals back to their original condition. It’s a really diverse and interesting role with lots of different opportunities but I particularly enjoy working with the historic brickwork and learning from a great team.


As part of the apprentices’ enrichment programme all 22 will be visiting the Heritage Craft Alliance training centre in Bedale this month to gain experience in stone carving and lime putty pointing of stone walls at the workshops. This follows an earlier visit to the Stanley Ferry workshops near Wakefield where oak lock gates are manufactured. Lecturer Jo Clancy adds: “Many of the trusts buildings were erected before 1919 so they are classed as conservation and heritage buildings. That’s why it’s important that the apprentices get to visit places where they can see these valuable bricklaying and woodcarving skills in action.”

Leeds College of Building offers a comprehensive range of construction related apprenticeships, with over 19 apprenticeships, 22 advanced apprenticeships and 4 higher apprenticeships. For more information call 0113 222 6078 or visit


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.