GMI Construction Group has joined the Northern Coalition on Skills as part of its commitment to support the levelling up agenda.
Claire Preston, the company’s Head of Responsible Business, was invited to join the Coalition, formed by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, with the aim of transforming the skills system.
The Coalition brings together representatives from across the Northern business community to act as a catalyst for much-needed reform.
Its first ambition is to restore, and then exceed the number of apprenticeships available in the North to pre-pandemic levels by introducing greater flexibility within the apprenticeship levy.
Across the Northern Powerhouse area, the number of those starting an apprenticeship in 2019/20 fell by 5,400 (eight per cent) to 63,900 and in 2020/21 that fell by a further 13,600 (21 per cent) to 50,300.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, the number of apprenticeships fell from 23,200 in 2019/20 to 18,000 in 2020/21 – a drop of 5,200.
Headquartered in Leeds, GMI Construction Group is one of the largest independent construction companies across the North and the Midlands. Employing 213 people, it has long championed apprenticeships and undergraduate work placements.
Its dedication to developing modern construction skills through earn and learn opportunities recently gained it membership of the prestigious five per cent Club after recently recruiting three apprentices to bring its cohort to 13.
As part of its commitment to levelling up, it has also signed up to both the Care Leaver Covenant and the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging to support young people as they move from local authority care to living independently, together with armed forces veterans and reservists
GMI Construction Group is responsible for major infrastructure projects that are helping to transform the North by creating prosperity and jobs. Across Yorkshire it is delivering a range of major distribution centres including 232.151 sq ft facility in Goole, a three storey manufacturing facility for Aflex Hose in Huddersfield, four light industrial/office units totalling 120,000 sq ft at Hornbeam Park, Harrogate, 178,000 sq ft distribution centre for P&B Foods at Bradford, and the development of the multi-award winning Thorpe Park, Leeds.
Claire Preston said: “We value construction apprenticeships, trainees, and graduates extremely highly as a way of developing new employees with the hands-on skills, experience, and education that are required within the sector.
“I’m proud to be joining the Northern Coalition on Skills and hope, along with other businesses across the North, we can make inspiring and practical changes to the skills system to create more and values apprenticeship opportunities which will deliver the North a skilled and adaptable workforce.”
Lee Powell, chief executive officer for GMI Construction Group, said: “Construction as an industry is creating the Northern Powerhouse and making levelling up a reality through the provision of factories, logistics centres, and offices – modern infrastructure that will generate the long-term economic prosperity the North requires.
“I’m pleased that GMI can contribute its expertise and knowledge to the Coalition, with an opportunity to bring about even greater change.”