A NEW training academy at one of the region’s most respected construction companies is celebrating further success for three of its apprentices.

Northallerton-based Walter Thompson launched its training academy last November after providing opportunities for young people to enter the building trade for the last 50 years through a successful training programme.

The Walter Thompson Training Academy, based at the company’s HQ in High Street, Northallerton, also offers degree-level apprenticeships on top of the traditional apprenticeships in building trades, including groundworks, bricklaying and joinery.

Three apprentices learning their trade through the academy recently shone at trade competitions.

First year bricklaying apprentice James Daniel won the Junior Category of the prestigious Guild of Bricklayers Competition regional heats and competed in the National Finals which took place in Liverpool earlier this month. James, 18, is from Northallerton and after leaving Northallerton School and Sixth Form College studied bricklaying at Middlesbrough College before joining Walter Thompson as an apprentice last year.

James now attends New College Durham and his apprenticeship is worked in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Matthew Langthorne, 19, is another Walter Thompson apprentice who has excelled at a recent competition. Matthew, also from Northallerton, is a second-year joinery apprentice who represented the company and New College Durham in the carpentry category at the regional heats of the CITB’s SkillBuild Competition.

Matthew joined Walter Thompson in 2017 and also attends New College Durham on day release. He was awarded a certificate of merit at the CITB competition, which was hosted by Carlisle College last month.

A third apprentice, Kai Wimmer, 20, also represented the company at a CITB competition. Kai, from Northallerton, joined Walter Thompson last year as a second year bricklaying apprentice, attending Darlington College on day release. Kai competed in the bricklaying category of the CITB SkillBuild Competition held in Leeds earlier this month.

Earlier this year, Matthew was one of four Walter Thompson apprentices chosen to attend a prestigious two-week course to learn about German carpentry techniques.

They were chosen to attend the Erasmus EU Mobility Apprentices Programme, which is delivered at Zimmerer-Ausbidungszentrum Training Centre, in Biberach, southern Germany, the top carpentry college in Germany.

Paul Hammerton, Managing Director at Walter Thompson, said: “We’ve always taken training extremely seriously and our Academy has taken us to the next level. Our success at recent trade competitions is encouraging and evidence of the hard work the apprentices put in – and of the support we as a company give them.

“Training is particularly important at the moment as there is a well-recognised skills shortage in the industry, with many contractors relying on sub-contracted labour. Walter Thompson has always taken a different approach, directly training and employing local people.

“The success of James, Matthew and Kai, and the recent visit to Germany shows the quality of young people we’re bringing into the industry – and we’re particularly proud that at the moment we have more than 20 apprentices at varying levels of their training. We’re also proud that so many of our former apprentices have senior roles within the company.”

Walter Thompson is one of the largest privately-owned construction companies in the north east, undertaking contracts up to a value of £15m across a variety of sectors including: education, health care, leisure, MOD/DE, restoration and retail.