Quinn Estates wins housebuilder award for supporting local skills growth at the ‘Oscars of housebuilding’
Last night (Thursday 2 November), Quinn Estates was recognised with another industry win at the Housebuilder Awards 2023. The Kent-based mixed-use developer was presented with Best Community Initiative for addressing the local skills need with the first of its kind college building at the EKC Civil Engineering Training Centre (East Kent Colleges Group) in Hersden, one of the most deprived wards in Kent.
The winners were announced by host comedian Joel Dommett at a prestigious black-tie event at the InterContinental London – The O2, which also included a drinks reception and dinner. The awards recognise the best in the housebuilding industry from design and sustainability to community impact and regeneration. Considered to be the Oscars of housebuilding, the Housebuilder Awards is voted on by industry leaders.
Located on the southern side of the A28 off Island Road in Hersden, Kent, The EKC Group Civil Engineering Training Centre is focused on construction and civil engineering. It was built in response to the national skills gap to ensure the development of the right skills locally to deliver economic growth.
A report by the Construction Skills Network in June 2022 found that more than a quarter of a million extra construction workers will be needed by 2026 to meet projected demands in the UK civil engineering sector, so this centre, a first of its kind, is a hugely positive and innovative step in addressing this.
The ground-breaking centre has been funded in its entirety by Quinn Estates and gifted to East Kent Colleges Group. Known as the EKC Civil Engineering Training Centre, it will cater for around 300 students at any time, studying courses ranging from construction certifications to full civil engineering apprenticeships. The 3,000 sq. ft facility includes a series of outdoor ‘stations’ where students can develop skills, including drainage and bricklaying. Inside is a training centre, office and other facilities.
This award win recognises the impact the facility will have on local people, with judges praising the development.
Huw Evans, Managing Director of Quinn Estates, commented: “We are incredibly proud to win such an important award for something that means so much to our organisation. To deliver this project, we had to overcome numerous obstacles including judicial reviews and nutrient neutrality issues between gaining consent and being able to commence the build. In that four-year period, costs doubled.
“Whilst the Section 106 compelled us to spend £600,000 but with costs increasing, we funded the entirety of the project totaling £1.5 million. Whilst we had no obligation to do this, for us it was about doing the right thing to deliver a community project we’re incredibly proud of, in an area we live and work in as a team.”
“This centre will enable the builders of the future to learn how to deliver what we strive for in every project – a home to be proud of – and a home in which our customers feel safe and happy.”
Graham Razey, Chief Executive Officer of EKC Group, added: “As a Group, we are committed to addressing skills gaps and ensuring businesses have the talented employees they need to thrive, so we’re incredibly proud of the training centre at Hersden. The centre will support employers in the civil engineering sector, enabling them to access the skilled staff they need to continue to flourish and grow.
“The project marks the culmination of a lot of hard work over several years, and we are very appreciative of everything that Quinn Estates has done in delivering our new centre despite the escalating costs. It is important to recognise the massive social impact that this will have, giving young people the opportunity to build great careers in a growing sector.”