Pledge for apprenticeships to work on new housing development

Coun Molyneux and Ben Ascroft
Coun Molyneux and Ben Ascroft

The home builder behind the transformation of the massive North Leigh Park development has made a commitment to invest in apprenticeships for local people as it prepares to get to work.

The pledge comes as Countryside welcomed Wigan Council leader David Molyneux to its North West modular panel factory in Warrington, which is training two apprentices from Wigan.

Countryside recently secured planning approval for the first phase of 199 new homes at North Leigh Park, 87 of which are intended for affordable housing.

It will be called Lindley Village and Countryside will create an initial 10 apprenticeship positions there, with a pledge to increase investment in further training over the 10-year regeneration programme.

It currently employs 12 apprentices across the North West, seven of whom are from Wigan and all of whom are intended to work at Lindley Village.

Launched earlier this year, Countryside’s modular panel factory provides an advanced pre-insulated panel delivered to site fully fitted with plasterboard and windows, designed to improve quality, create on-site efficiencies, reduce waste and enhance health and safety.

Wigan resident Ben Ascroft has been working for Countryside for six months as an apprentice at the factory. He said: “My apprenticeship means that I can learn as I work but it also gives me the chance to learn from those around me. There was so much about house-building that I didn’t know before starting with Countryside and I’m finding it very rewarding.”

Ian Kelley, chief executive at Countryside Partnerships North, added: “Embracing modern methods of construction is very important to our business, and we’re proud to do so while upskilling the future workforce.”

Coun Molyneux said: “North Leigh Park is a key brownfield site allocated in our local plan and regeneration strategy, so it’s fantastic that we have seven young people from the borough working on such a high-profile and transformative project learning modern skills that will serve them well in their careers.

“Without this development, there would be a lot of pressure on our greenbelt.”