APPRENTICES and their employers are benefitting from a scheme which aims to support small businesses in the construction industry.

The Worcestershire Construction Apprentice Academy (WCAA) is a non-profit charity established in 2013 by local building contractor Speller Metcalfe, who wanted to do more to directly support construction apprenticeships.

Woodrose Carpentry Ltd, Ged Bearcroft Developments Ltd, Paul Morton Creations and Matt Kinchin Building Contractors - all Worcestershire based businesses - successfully applied for grant-based funding after they each took on an apprentice from the Heart of Worcestershire College.

As well as providing a £500 grant to each employer, each apprentice has received a toolkit from Travis Perkins, specific to their trade, which will enable them to hit the ground running when they get onto site.

Kim Davies, PR manager at Speller Metcalfe, said: “With the majority of our projects delivered by our supply chain, our aim is for the WCAA to directly support local businesses and bring in new talent and skills for the County.”

Ged Bearcroft is one of these small business owners, who also has a role as Town Councillor for Evesham and the Ward of Great Hampton.

He said: “I have been using apprentices for many years, and believe it’s the best way of bringing people through into industry – particularly as construction is struggling with an older age demographic.

“We’ve ignored the problem for too long, and it’s great to see local companies such as Speller Metcalfe as well as our District Council supporting initiatives like this.”

Since its inception the WCAA has supported nearly 40 apprentices, with Travis Perkins and the Heart of Worcestershire working in partnership with Speller Metcalfe since 2013.

Richard Bull from HoW College, said: “This is a fantastic incentive from Speller Metcalfe to prepare the apprentices for a thriving career in the construction industry.

“The toolkits will assist them practically on a daily basis and will give them a sense of ownership over their own tools to look after and maintain as a professional Trades person.”

For more about the scheme, go to