Donaldson Timber Systems partners with West Herts College on apprenticeship programme

April 20, 2023

Leading UK offsite timber frame manufacturer, Donaldson Timber Systems (DTS), has partnered with West Herts College to offer an apprenticeship programme in support of the next generation of talent in the construction industry for timber frame construction.

The partnership originated with DTS’ appointment to the Hertfordshire OSM framework, which included the commitment to engage with the local College. The 2.5-year programme was open to students on the College’s Level 2 City and Guilds carpentry course.

The apprenticeship will include four days per week on-site, delivered by one of DTS’ service level agreement partners, Bedfordshire-based S.E. Carpentry. One day per week the apprentices will attend the College to work on in-class modules, including an additional module that will focus on modern methods of construction (MMC) for timber frame, that was developed in partnership with DTS. This covers an understanding of construction technology; health and safety; an introduction to MMC; and understanding construction information, materials and the installation process, together with site / project communications.

Simon Horn, Technical Development Manager at DTS, said: “We were connected to West Herts College through our work supporting a regional consortium of housing providers and Local Authorities, to improve the delivery of housing at a local level and develop local enterprise partnerships. Supporting skills development in the next generation is crucial to the ongoing evolution of the UK construction industry, and is something we’re committed to at DTS, so working with the College to grow and support talent was a great fit.”

“This apprenticeship programme is a pilot project for DTS and is something we would like to roll out in more areas, with more partners, in time. We’re aiming to provide real opportunities and increase motivation, while simultaneously helping to fill the skills gap in our industry.”

Sian Williams, Curriculum Director at West Herts College, said: “We’re excited to partner with DTS on this programme to give our learners an opportunity to receive hands-on training and develop their understanding of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). It has been fantastic to work closely with DTS to develop MMC modules that incorporate new design and technologies that enable our learners to gain the most current and update knowledge and skills linking into a variety of curriculum courses.”

Gill Worgan, Principal and Chief Executive of West Herts College Group also commented: “Our partnership with the team at Donaldson Timber Systems is so important to us, and a fine example of what can be achieved when education and employers work together.  I hope we can build on these successes going forward.”

Spencer Earl, managing director of S.E. Carpentry, added: “We’re proud to partner with DTS and West Herts College to provide two apprentices with the opportunity to learn from our team and develop their skills. It’s also unquestionably a great benefit for our business, as we will have two qualified installers at the end of the programme who are trained to work on DTS’ timber frame build systems.”

Currently led by the sixth generation of Donaldson, the 163-year-old Donaldson Group comprises a total of 17 specialist timber and building product businesses and brands, operating throughout the UK from 46 locations employing over 1,700 people. The businesses that make up the Group trade and operate independently, sharing best practice, innovation, purchasing synergies, and market analysis.