Northern plumbers offered upskill opportunity

Plumbers in parts of the north of England are being offered the opportunity to add a few more strings to their bow, thanks to a new training programme.

Council housing repair service Kier North Tyneside is launching a scheme that will allow professionals to earn a full gas qualification after taking part in a course being held on-site.

The move was made possible after the organisation secured £135,000 of funding from the government's Employer Ownership of Skills initiative, which has been created to provide support to projects that aim to create jobs, develop talent and drive economic growth.

Plumbers who put themselves forward for the programme will eventually benefit from an increased scope of work they are capable of carrying out.

In a statement, Kier North Tyneside commented: "Our onsite teams provide a friendly and professional environment for candidates who wish to train, re-qualify, or are members of the armed forces looking to resettle - enabling you to get the skills and qualifications you need to do your job."

The opportunity is also open to plumbers based around the Sheffield area, as Kier Group operates another assessment centre at a site on Manor Lane in the Yorkshire city.

Furthermore, the company - responsible for the maintenance of 16,000 residential homes - has guaranteed all candidates an eight-week placement with its own UK-wide gas servicing team upon completion of the foundation training programme.

It is expected around 150 trainees will complete the course over a three-year period, with those who choose to enrol benefitting from 50 per cent funding on their fees, up to a maximum of £900.

Kier regional director Mike Furze told News Guardian: "Securing this funding is testament to the quality of training our centre provides and the reputation it has quickly built up since it was launched in 2011."

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