Brad Daniel, Nigel MacDonald, Councillor Richard Farnell, Ian Eardley and Sam Booth, who is training at GMCT Ltd
Greater Manchester Construction Training Limited (GMCT Ltd) has driven its diggers onto a two-acre plot in Bowlee, Middleton following an 18-month search for a site.
It is the only training centre in Greater Manchester which offers national apprenticeships in operating construction machinery.
Director Brad Daniel said: “With major projects the new shopping and leisure development in the town centre on the horizon, there’s huge potential for construction in Rochdale.
“Being located at Bowlee also means local people will be in the best position to receive training and potentially employment because we offer the national apprenticeship and adult learning. The only other places where people can receive this type of training are Norfolk and Preston.”
The company, which works with major names like Russells, Kier and Wates, as well as smaller companies, was founded by Brad and Ian Eardley, who between them have more than 20 years-experience of training construction workers. The duo already have an office in Sudden and wanted to stay in the borough as they expanded their business.
Brad Daniel added: “A lot of people left the industry during the recession or were reluctant to enter into it, but now construction is booming and we are building again, particularly in Rochdale, we need to fill that skills gap.
“The business community is thriving in Rochdale and we work with other local firms like PLP Construction in Heywood.
“The council has helped us make connections with other people in the industry and they found this site for us after a really long search. We had really specific requirements, so we would not have found this place without the help of the council.”
One local who has already benefitted is Sam Booth, 25, from Milnrow. Sam, who currently works at the council’s Bowlee nursery, has been offered free training by the firm to give him more career options.
He said: “I will be working towards my CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme), which is your passport in this industry really. It is an exciting time for me because I am saving up to get my own place and this gives me potential to go into a really good career.”
Ian Eardley added: “Demand for training is greater than the supply in this industry and salaries can go up to £20-£25 an hour, depending on the job, so construction is a great career option. We have already put 20 people through training and are looking forward to getting even more local people ready to build the new Rochdale.”
Councillor Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Having this national training centre right on our doorstep is a great opportunity for our young people and those who are looking to re-enter this industry. Rochdale is booming.
“We have got major developments happening all the time and we are building 460 new homes each year, so there will be plenty of opportunities for local people to get work in the borough once they have completed their training.”