21st Jul 2016
Local MP Rory Stewart on Friday visited The Outward Bound Trust’s Watermillock campus to meet with some of the team from Penrith-based business Atkinson Building Contractors, who are currently working on a £2.7million refurbishment build at the site - including the building of a new biomass boiler and pellet store, extensions to the Grade II listed main house, refurbishments to the exiting coach house, and a huge variety of associated drainage and external works.
Rory met with managing director Steve Atkinson and Neil McKaskie, and discussed the business, its apprenticeship policy, and their many community outreach projects. Rory and Steve in particular discussed the company's excellent record of taking on apprentices - it has supported in excess of 70 apprenticeships since it was launched, and now has a record number of apprentices on its books. Rory also praised its approach to being a building contractor at the very heart of the local community, raising funds and supporting a number of local charities including Hospice at Home, Penrith Colour Run, Penrith Football Club, Penrith Cricket Club, and many, many more.
The apprenticeship scheme in particular has been fundamental to the success of Atkinsons’ growth in recent years, with the flourishing relationships in local schools and colleges securing a constant supply of ambitious apprentices. A range of courses from plumbing to surveying technology allow apprentices to gain valuable on-the-job experience whilst earning a wage. Coming at a time when there is a national push for more apprenticeships, Rory says Atkinsons “sets the standards for the local construction economy, and is a driving force in promoting the power of apprenticeships and boosting the local economy.”
Rory said: “Steve's company is doing brilliant work, and I think it is great to see a Penrith-based company that has grown and taken the community with it as it has expanded, never forgetting its roots and investing back into our economy by supporting apprenticeships and local charities. It is key to get local youngsters who want to go straight into work, to do so in a local company like this, and immediately begin contributing to our economy. I am extremely impressed with the eagerness of the apprentices to learn new skills, and also the opportunities Atkinsons are providing. I congratulate them on the amazing work they are going, and I wish them every success and hope that more local businesses will take inspiration from Atkinsons.”
Steve Atkinson said: “It’s great that our achievement has attracted such attention in the local area, we’re proud to have apprenticeships at the centre of our success as a company and hope our current apprentices can follow in the footsteps of many before into management positions at Atkinson’s. We’d like to thank Rory Stewart for coming out to see us and we hope we can continue to be an asset in his constituency.”