The Westdale Midlands Ltd Skills Training Academy

Meeting our collective fuel poverty reduction and net zero obligations is a challenge we all recognise and few housing providers with older stock profiles would argue that fabric-first measures make the greatest impact in meeting both of these challenges.

However, most don’t know that whilst skills shortages are common parlance, for many key trades, no suitable training courses exist!

One of CHIC’s key contractors, Westdale Midlands Ltd, is addressing this problem in their typically pragmatic fashion by setting up their own Training Academy, and the results are beginning to be noticed in higher circles.

Using their multi-year Wave 2 SHDS contract with Citizen Housing as a catalyst, Westdale converted their Coventry-based office and warehouse into a bespoke facility for training unemployed people from the communities where their works take place.

Partnering with Coventry College to select candidates with a desire to join the industry, Westdale’s timeserved trainers impart the skills and knowledge focused on real-world necessities.

On purpose-built training walls and in classroom sessions, four cohorts of trainees have now learned and practiced the essential skills and have graduated through the Academy, where they have learned:

  • A wide range of practical External Wall Insulation techniques and capabilities.
  • A background in construction and legislation that underpins their practical skills.
  • The importance of customer care, a ‘right first time’ and quality service delivery approach.
  • The essential health and safety knowledge, including gaining accreditations necessary for work on site.

Not only do trainees access unrivalled training, they also benefit from:

  • A steady wage during their training period
  • On-site placement with existing Westdale teams, where their learning is truly reinforced
  • The promise of a full-time role in the business for those who reach the required standards.

Westdale has now completed the 12 week course 4 times.

The number of students completing the 4 courses is 23, including 5 on the current course. They have had a few students join them by word of mouth rather than through the bootcamp.

They currently expect that the full cohort going through the course will be offered full time employment if they maintain current standards being achieved. They will have offered and provided full time employment to 20 students so far.

Westdale anticipate this number growing to circa 40- 50 full time jobs by the end of Wave 2 installing EWI.

Unsurprisingly, this pro-active approach to resolving the current skills shortage, whilst at the same time delivering very real legacy benefits within the communities of Coventry, has garnered interest from Regional and Government bodies.

Visits to the Training Academy have been commonplace, each a reminder of the unique approach to problem solving that is Westdale’s trademark.

If you have aspirations to deliver a grant or directly funded project and think that there could be a role for a similar Academy in your region, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Tel: 01952 677 926

E mail: [email protected]


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