According to the Housing White Paper published by the Department
for Communities and Local Government in February, which sets out
the government's plans to reform the housing market and boost the
supply of new homes in England, the UK requires a million new homes
The Farmer Report, commissioned by the Construction Leadership
Council to identify actions to reduce the housing industry's
structural vulnerability to skills shortages, identified that the
current government target cannot be achieved, unless outputs are
ORCA aims to deliver 10,000 units of affordable housing within
five years, using off-site mobile manufacturing that will employ
and train local labour, utilising Light Gauge Steel (LGS), which
results in over 50% faster construction than traditional
The College and ORCA have partnered to support a UK government
mandate to reduce the vulnerability of the skills shortage and
increase housing supply using off site methods of construction.
Around 85% of UK houses employ traditional methods of masonry
and timber, while offsite manufactured houses account for around
15%, light gauge steel and other offsite methods have huge
potential for growth in the future.
ORCA entered the UK market in 2012 and has delivered over 70
projects utilising light gauge steel.
Dik Barton, Chief Operations Officer at ORCA, said: "The UK
housing crisis is compounded by a skills shortage for traditional
methods. With our method, a 100 m2, which is the average UK house
size, can be manufactured and assembled in eight hours and an
unskilled person can be trained to assemble and install within four
to eight weeks"
ORCA held an awareness session at Northumberland College on 28
June, the College then supported the organisation through an
interview process, following which, successful candidates undertook
the first phase of a training programme that saw them complete a
two- week orientation course at the College.
Jill Robinson, Contracts and Employability Manager at
Northumberland College, said: "Following initial training, ORCA has
accepted 12 talented candidates. Trainees are now commencing the
ORCA training programme enabling local unemployed people to achieve
a new skill set to build houses".
Dik adds: "ORCA is delighted to be working with Northumberland
College, a thoroughly professional institution, who have been
intimately involved in the recruitment, selection and training
process. Trainees are currently undergoing a structured 10 week
training programme establishing an ongoing model aspiring to LGS
accreditation and certification."
Northumberland College has invested over £10m at its campuses in
recent years where facilities include a dedicated Construction
Academy. In addition to this a brand-new £2.5m centre for science,
engineering and digital technologies will open in September.
The College's Business Training Solutions Team offer a full
range of support to around 1,000 businesses across the region
including employability programmes that optimise the recruitment
process by ensuring candidates are matched to a particular sector
with the right attitude and commitment to enhance the
John Paul Fraser, Managing Director of ORCA, said: "This is an
exciting time for ORCA and the college working in partnership to
create jobs locally and increase housing supply in the UK. We want
Northumberland to become ORCA's centre of excellence for training,
delivering 10,000 units per year nationally and creating over 1,200
Chris Brown, aged 30, from Blyth said: "Being given the
opportunity to undertake training that will lead to employment with
such a forward thinking organisation is great and I'm really
looking forward to the future."
To find out more about ORCA LGS Solutions please visit www.orca-lgs.com and for more
information on Northumberland College's employer training services
go to www.businessts.co.uk