Eco-construction training gathers pace with enterprising charity and Hemsec

  • 6 Aug 2021

Working with disadvantaged young people, the charity Apple Cast will expand its Open Awards SIPs training, in partnership with Hemsec, to adults seeking to build their own garden rooms and home offices.

The construction industry has an urgent need to train people to build with sustainable materials and the initiative by charity Apple Cast North West, alongside leading SIPs manufacturer Hemsec, continues towards making a significant impact on the sector by providing important education and training.

In a 60-hour course, participants learn how to build a single-storey bungalow with a pitched roof.

The Lancashire-based organisation has 15 years’ experience working with local disadvantaged young people through a varied and increasing range of training programmes.

Its aim is to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour and to enable those who are struggling to come to terms with their school environment, at the same time as delivering much-needed skills to the local economy.

During 2020, the charity started its latest project – teaching young people how to build using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).

The SIPs training course for vulnerable young people will expand to adults wanting to build their own garden rooms and home offices.

In December 2020, Hemsec donated SIPs for this project and pledged its ongoing support to the programme, enabling Apple Cast to launch the new Open Awards training course in SIPs construction, the brainchild of Neil Farnworth, CEO and founder of Apple Cast.

‘A huge success’

The course was a huge success, with the first 10 trainees aged 16-18 completing the 14-week programme. Inspired by this achievement, Neil is now planning to repeat the course from September 2021 and to also run the first in an ambitious new programme of courses: training adults who want to build their own garden rooms and home offices using SIPs.

Neil is in no doubt as to the relevance of using SIPs in modern construction – and the benefits to local vulnerable young people.

“Apple Cast has chosen building with SIPs over any other method of construction because it is more straightforward than traditional construction and creates high-quality buildings. It is possible with just 60 hours of training over 14 weeks for all the youngsters to pass the course and be able to build using SIPs,” he comments.

“These youngsters often don’t have the same opportunities as most, so we aim to equip them with the skills they need to help them to find employment. It demonstrates Apple Cast’s success in reaching out and engaging with disaffected youngsters, providing them with valuable skills. This benefits them as individuals and is good for the local community.”

Teaching skills in constructing buildings using SIPs – and more

The course teaches students a variety of skills, including teamwork with peers and working with adults. The essential element of the programme is constructing buildings using SIPs, learning the importance of:

 – Planning
 – Design
 – Safe handling
 – Teamwork

Design the initial stages, the young people undertake their training in a workshop setting. Later, the students get the opportunity to work on installations outside including building a single-storey bungalow with a pitched roof.

SIPs are the ultimate, eco-friendly construction solution

Neil adds: “SIPs are a great material to work with thanks to their relative simplicity. Because SIPs are easy to build with, the course can help students gain confidence quickly working with what we and Hemsec believe is the ultimate, eco-friendly construction solution.”

“The sector faces a major skills shortage, due largely to an ageing workforce and an insufficient number of young people entering the sector. This course can assist in starting to address that issue by helping to fill the gap.”

Successfully completing the course has longer-term benefits as well.

It helps students to re-engage with their education, improve social skills and gain work-based practical learning. Ultimately, the qualification can help young people to get a job, enabling long-term career prospects which may otherwise have seemed out of reach.

There are other benefits to the construction industry, too.

The sector faces a major skills shortage, due largely to an ageing workforce and an insufficient number of young people entering the sector. This course can assist in starting to address that issue by helping to fill the gap.

SIPs: An essential part of sustainable modern methods of construction

Increasing numbers of construction projects are discovering the numerous advantages of using SIPs for all types of developments, including residential, commercial and industrial ventures. These benefits include cost-effectiveness, speed of build, safety, durability, flexibility, energy-efficiency, space utilisation and ability to improve overall build quality.

For Neil, though, it is not only SIPs that are key; it is choosing the right manufacturer.

“I always work with Hemsec SIPs now. Having tried SIPs from most UK manufacturers, I find that Hemsec’s products are more uniform in size and shape. It is important that we use the best quality product for our SIPs training,” he comments.

Stephen Painter is Hemsec’s MD, appointed in 2012 to lead the Liverpool-based family-run firm which was established in 1928.

“In the next phase of our journey, the team at Hemsec is committed to achieving net-zero carbon construction by supporting the industry to construct better buildings; always putting people first,” he says.

“We are proud to be the SIPs manufacturer of choice to Apple Cast and we are committed to helping Neil and his team to develop this training initiative however we can.”

To find out more about Apple Cast and the great charity work they do, to learn about their SIPs courses or to plan a visit to the centre please visit the website at Apple Cast.

Contact Hemsec:

Stoney Lane,
L35 9LL

T: 0151 426 7171
E: [email protected]

Visit the Hemsec website

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