Berkeley Modular’s recruitment drive to support its new operation at Northfleet has continued apace, with the company also now set to appoint its first cohort of apprentices.
Working with North Kent College, which will be delivering the education element of the apprenticeship, and recruitment agency Barker Ross, Berkeley Modular has completed the first stage of the apprenticeship recruitment process.
Over 50 candidates applied for the apprenticeship, of which 31 met the initial criteria for the positions. Now, Berkeley Modular is beginning the difficult process of whittling the talented group down to find the 10 apprentices who will join the forward-thinking offsite manufacturing company in September 2019.
As a reflection of the unique apprenticeship programme, which combines digital engineering and construction skills, each candidate will be required to take an aptitude test before participating in an assessment workshop hosted by CADCOE, an award-winning provider of fast-track digital engineering apprenticeships.
These workshops will give the candidates an insight into the work they can expect to undertake as part of the apprenticeship, including digital modelling. The candidates will take part in group activities and one-to-one meetings with representatives from CADCOE, Berkeley Modular and North Kent College.
Once the workshop phase is complete, the top-tier candidates will be invited to interviews with Berkeley Modular’s senior team at the manufacturing facility in Northfleet, Kent, with the final 10 apprentices to be selected by the end of July.
Commenting on the apprenticeship recruitment drive, Mark Boyes, recruitment consultant at Barker Ross said: “This is a unique chance to join a company that will be at the forefront of industrialised construction and offsite manufacturing in the UK, and the level of interest in the role and the quality of the candidates reflects the huge opportunity these apprenticeships present to people in North Kent.
“The course is focused on lean manufacturing principles and digital engineering, and is very different from a traditional construction apprenticeship, and the diversity of the candidates reflects this. Traditionally in construction, female and BAME candidates are underrepresented, but the group we have assembled here is over 25 per cent female and 25 per cent BAME.
“I believe that we can start to shift the industry’s demographic by moving away from traditional building and towards digitalised construction and lean manufacturing – widening our talent pool and attracting the best people to the industry. This first group of apprentice candidates represents the first step on this path for Berkeley Modular.”
Combining digital engineering and construction skills, the apprenticeship course will allow Berkeley Modular to develop a selectively-chosen workforce which will help the housebuilder to tackle some of the issues facing the construction sector, from the ageing workforce to the skills shortage.
During the course, apprentices will gain an understanding of digital design, CAD, and manufacturing and construction principles in the first year, progressing onto BIM, engineering and project management in subsequent years.
The first year of the course includes a residential placement at Dudley College to learn the basics of digital design and its importance in manufacturing.
Berkeley Modular, part of the Berkeley Group, has committed to recruiting ten apprentices per year as part of the unique programme which will enable the successful candidates to gain experience at the cutting edge of volumetric modular manufacturing. The first cohort of apprentices will begin their course in September 2019, with the factory due to begin production in 2020.