Hellens Group, the North East-based developer of Darlington’s Burtree Garden Village, has announced a new skills hub with Efficiency North in its latest project in Darlington.

Part of the new development site will be operated by Efficiency North’s apprenticeships and training social enterprise, EN:Able Futures CIC, as a Construction Skills Hub, and the project has been backed by Darlington MP Peter Gibson.

EN:Able Futures CIC already successfully runs a construction skills hub in Hull and will now replicate that success in partnership with Hellens Group on the Burtree Garden Village development. The Hull hub has worked with over 1000 people seeking a career in construction and the Darlington hub will replicate this whilst providing flexi-job apprenticeships, training in retrofit skills and trades such as bricklaying.

EN:Able Futures CIC is one of only sixteen organisations appointed to the Government’s flexi-job apprenticeship agency register and will be providing the apprenticeships from the Darlington hub.

Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive of Hellens Group, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming the construction skills hub to Burtree Garden Village and help tie into the construction of the garden village itself.”

Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, said: “We’re going to be able to offer those training opportunities for young people here in Darlington to take advantage of those future construction jobs that are coming to the town.”

Efficiency North’s chief executive, Lee Parkinson, called it a ‘unique learning experience.’

He added: “It allows people to move into construction careers and then a high-quality job after.”

The village plans include a new public park, with the project aiming to create 2,000 homes and 200,000 sq m of employment space.